Some blurbs from this week

Inauguration eve: If you seriously think this is “just another president” I don’t even know how to begin to talk to you. Is Biden the dream? Of course not. But this is a matter of safety, for some of us more than others, but for us all. Lives are at stake. We are talking about pure evil. I don’t feel in the least bit hyperbolic saying that. We are talking about basic human rights and freedom from 21st century fascism. This will still be a fucked up country. But if this doesn’t matter, what possibly could?


It should not matter what you think of me. And yet, it does. Today I asked Joey in the car, “Do you think I look androgynous?” I knew better.

“This feels like there isn’t a right answer,” he said. “Are you asking if I’d have trouble telling your gender?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“You look nonbinary. Or like a feminine trans guy.”

I pouted silently. Why? Now I realize it was, “No, what would a cis person think I am?”

The answer: male.

“I’m feeling insecure in my femininity,” I said.

“Oh boy…” he said, and he reassured me. We laughed.

But what is it I want? This thinking gets insane. I fall into what I call the “gender hole.” Is it about clothes? Make-up? Postures? I don’t want to be a trans man, and I don’t want to be a cis woman…at least not today. I don’t think. But I take so much comfort in our, dare I say, butch and fem roles. I want to be a stereotypical girl in personality. Whatever that means. I love when we are gender stereotypes and we laugh at it.

Like 90% of the time only one person sees me because of Covid isolation. So I guess it makes sense that I started quizzing this person on my appearance. I have fear of coming across as a cis het dude. I worry about my voice, my inflections….It should not matter what you think of me. But it does.

I want to create some confusion and attraction from masculine straight and queer men. Whatever masculine means. Why? To everyone else I’d like to be platonically intriguing or go unnoticed. Either way. Why is this so embarrassing? I guess it fits easily for cis people. They have the same desires to be seen correctly and be attractive to those they find attractive. They just don’t feel the need to articulate it.


In the early January light. Yellow-white sun with an orange halo. The song of the cardinal. Blue shadows around snowy foot tracks, mostly human. But there is a trail of paw prints leading across the frozen pond to the island, where the fox beds down in the tall grasses.

There are spots where the snow is dug up by deer eating the grass. The frigid wind whistles low in my ears. I have cold hands, and the world seems just a little bit fuzzy.

There are tree-covered hills in the distance that are grey, while the trees in the foreground appear dark, almost black. Four black crows cut across between the black and grey expanse, beneath the white-yellow orb and the encroaching clouds.


The body is holding all that is mysterious to the mind. The truth is in your muscles’ memories. You know it in your bones. I know things that I do not know. I remember and then forget again. What I really want to say is, there is a poem I read recently by lucille clifton that says, “every day something had tried to kill me and has failed.” I’ve thought about that line all week.

Zines

I am making zines of my poetry every month!   Really happy with how this turned out! It’s gonna be really neat, I will mail you a physical copy each month. If you want to exchange zines let me know. The poems are about being a rural queer trans person and such. Check it out! http://patreon.com/elliottdeline

Also if you can’t afford to subscribe but want to get them, let me know! I mostly just want to share.

A good day.

Today was a good day. My elliptical arrived, and I exercised on that for about 15 minutes. Afterwards I felt like I wanted to do yoga, so I did that for another 10 minutes. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it completely changed my day. It brought me into my body. I’m going to try to do this short routine everyday.

I also practiced guitar. I’m getting a little better at finger picking. I feel encouraged. I have another lesson tomorrow.

In the earlyish morning, around maybe 8-9:30, Joey and I walked down to the pine grove and had a camp fire. We just talked and chilled and it was really lovely.

I set up these dresser things today for myself, which is actually a big deal because I usually suck at putting things together and need help. It’s giving me some hope that I’ll be able to help with building projects on the farm, and hopefully our little cabin we want to build.

Writing classes are going well. I got more positive feedback on my poetry from the teacher, who is a published poet. She really didn’t have any suggestions, she just said it was a very strong poem. Here, I’ll share it:

Two Selves

The child says he will not sleep

Until he writes the perfect poem.

The adult says, yes, he will

And turns out the light.

The child says he’s afraid of the dark.

He’s afraid to sleep.

He’s afraid of nightmares.

The adult says, “I love you.

You’re safe.

Hold my hand.”

I really do like it, but I thought other people might find it a little sappy. People in the class really loved in though. I decided to include it in the zine I’m making of my poetry. That’s another thing I’m working on.

So, zines. Ha. My printer/scanner/copier arrived Saturday and I got right to work on it. Worth mentioning I also set up my printer, which I’ve never done. It really shows that my focus and confidence are getting better (thanks ketamine treatments!). Anyway, I made a zine for the first time very manically. I’m not sure I should use that word, because it only lasted a few hours, but it felt like mania. I was working too fast and I’m lucky I didn’t cut myself with the scissors or something. I was just kind of pulling things viciously from sketchbooks and notebooks and slapping them onto pages with glue, making a but of a mess. It turned out pretty…meh. But I tried again when I was in a calmer state of mind, and I’m not doing it all in one setting. So it’s going better. I want to make it available to people soon.

I’m feeling pretty good, given the circumstances of things. I’m really fucking lucky to live in such an isolated and beautiful place. I’ve had the privilege to shut it all out often. The past few weeks I’ve still been struggling with really high anxiety. It manifests as worrying about what I’m doing with my day, but I know it’s really because of the state of things in this country. I’d say I’m a little depressed, but nothing severe like the past. Just a little lethargy and lack of motivation some days. But I’ve been doing a good job of filling up my time anyway

Oh, this is cool, I’m going to be teaching a peer led class at PROS (Personal Recovery Oreinted Services). I’m going to teach poetry.

The queer writer’s group I started on zoom went great yesterday. There were 6 of us, and 3 were nonbinary. We shared our work and we had a really good talk about isolation as queers and not being able to dress up and go out, and how it’s actually a big deal. That was like a breath of air for me, seriously. I’m pretty lonely and talking with other queers was so validating.

All the animals are well. Family is well. I guess that’s all I have to say for tonight. Thanks for reading.

Oh, I also added a page on this site for my art, so check that out if you’re interested. I’m posting more soon.

My second assignment for my writing class

I did the Pennebaker Paradigm for 2 days and decided I had done enough. I do believe I will keep doing free writing in 20 minute bursts every day, just not about bad memories. My experience was this: First, I tried to just write about the painful memory. This was sort of good, because it made it real…but it also made me pretty sad. I did a good job of stopping when it felt like too much, and grounding, using writing. For example, I wrote about what my bedroom looked like and what clothes I was wearing. Later, I switched to a different style, where I rewrote the trauma. In this version, a second, empowered “me” comes to my rescue. That felt very contrived at first, but I think it was a good exercise/ thought experiment. I’m glad I did it, because it inspired this poem that I rather like, even though it’s short and simple.

Two Selves

The child says he will not sleep

Until he writes the perfect poem

The adult says, yes, he will

And turns out the light

The child says he’s afraid of the dark

He’s afraid to sleep

He’s afraid of nightmares

The adult says, “I love you.

You’re safe.

Hold my hand.”

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From my writing circle

Here is something I wrote tonight during our ten minute writing sessions. I’ve italicized the prompt.

To find out who you are is perhaps an impossible task. Some find it comforting that we are everchanging and that the ego is an illusion. I still find that scary. I think about these questions when I do my treatments. It’s best if I can be outside, looking at the skyline.

I like living out here, away from the rushing world. There are political signs and flags that I find infuriating and frightening, but mostly we live under the radar. I’d like to keep it like that Though it makes me angry that we even have to think this way.

It feels almost silly. Denial is strong. I find myself thinking it’s all just too dramatic. Too cinematic. The pandemic, the political unrest….it’s truly unreal. I wonder what else is coming. I feel so removed. I barely consume news and get my headlines from Joey. He’s extremely on top of it.

Sometimes I feel guilty about this, but it’s vital I protect my mental health right now. Paranoia can be a problem. In 2016 I was hospitalized shortly after the election. One of the things I believed was that nazis would be coming for us in the night. This was among other wild ideas, and I was definitely unwell. But it’s not that paranoid of a thought now, if you ask me. I can’t even imagine what’s next.

I also would like to point out that for undocumented immigrants, this “being taken away” is already a reality. It’s happening. Also for people of color, with regard to the police. I guess my sense of “unrealness” is my white privilege showing.

Anyway, I started with the idea of “finding out who you are.” I guess now is really the time for that, huh?

The opposite of self-care sea slug

Ugh, today was not great. It’s amazing how all my insight can just go out the window. I’m really grateful to have a partner that helps me keep things in perspective though. Here is the very logical, admittedly humorous breakdown of what I did today. Paraphrased.

Writing course prompt gives option: write about happy or sad time. Obviously sad is the deeper choice. Plus, my poems last night were positive, and I have to show my range. I will write a poem about the most traumatic moment of my adult life and something I am still really struggling with. That will really move ’em! Aren’t I winning at this Writing to Heal Course? Open up old wounds and heal those motherfuckers!

Uh oh, I’m crying. For some reason I now feel really depressed.

Knock knock.

Joey: what?

Me: *sobbing* I wrote a sad poem about when we broke up and now I’m sad.

Joey: -_-

Me: Can we hug?

Joey: Of course.

*Hug*

Joey: Maybe you need to focus on grounding yourself in the present moment.

Me: I think I should do ketamine right now. I think that would be a great idea for me.

Joey: That is the worst idea ever.

Me: I think I should burn the poem!

Joey: Are you sure that’s dramatic enough?

Me: I will at least rip it up and delete it from the submission page for my class. Oh no, it won’t let me do that! I’m gonna freak out now!

Joey: ….

Me: Are you annoyed?

Joey: It’s a little frustrating.

Me: I’m sorryyyyyyy

Joey: Stop licking your wounds! Do you need a cone of shame?

Shortly after: lot’s of laughter, albeit somewhat strained.

I’ve exhausted myself emotionally today and probably need to sleep. Why am I sometimes like this? Well, I know, I just don’t want to get into it. I’m just going to laugh at it because the alternative is crying and I’m all cried out.

This probably goes without saying, but I need to stick with a healthier approach to being an artist. My health as a human depends on it.

After this I felt all pouty and needy and nothing was good enough. Blah.

Here’s a really good quote from a book I’m reading. I’m just gonna put this here.

“Our fundamental longing to belong and feel loved becomes an insistent craving for substitutes …Our longing for sex and affection can become an anguished dependency on another human being to define and please us…. If we have been acutely frustrated or deprived, our fixated desire becomes desperate and unquenchable, and our entire life is hijacked by the force of this energy. We feel like a wanting self in all situations, with all people, throughout the day…This kind of thirst contracts our body and mind into a profound trance…The color of autumn leaves or a passage of poetry merely amplifies the feeling that there is a gaping hole in our life. …In bringing a clear comprehensive awareness to our situation, we begin to accept our wanting self with compassion. This frees us to move forward, to break out of old patterns.” -Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance.

Alright, g’night.

Whoa!

Tonight I went to my first writing circle for the writing course I’m taking. We did quick prompts and writing exercises after introductions. I am really fucking proud of myself and kind of shocked. We were told to write and then read 20 facts about ourselves and I took the opportunity to grow as a person and face my fears. I told this all white, seemingly upper-middle class group of 5 cis straight women and one cis straight man that I identify as “someone who is neither male nor female and is also both.”

The woman who went before me revealed she was very Catholic, so that sorta lit a fire in me. What was lovely was later in her writing she made it clear she is not a typical Catholic. Anyway, I would have NEVER done this, probably even a few weeks ago. 

Anyway! I’m so fucking proud of myself. I didn’t even feel that anxious afterwards. I felt like I actually could exist in that space. It’s surreal for me. Luckily we weren’t allowed to comment after so that helped. Hopefully I don’t get emails telling me I’m an inspiration….haha. So embarrassing. But if I do I’ll try to take it with gratitude. I also came out as in a gay relationship. 

Lastly, I want to say…I’m a really fucking gifted writer. I don’t feel this that often, so I’m letting myself bask in it. It’s not that the other people were bad, it’s just I was really impressed with my ability to write meaningful poetry on the spot. Like in a matter of minutes. I mean the exercises were just to kinda write junk without thinking, but I honestly came up with the drafts of two pretty strong pieces that I like a lot. 

I also took guitar lessons this week and I already am improving at finger picking. Maybe I’ll be able to make some music I’m proud of…I certainly am ready with the lyrics part and have been for a long ass time. I’m really excited about making prints of my visual art, too. I pretty much feel the best I think I’ve ever felt. 

Go team Elliott!

Updated this poem

January 6th, 2021 

Those fucking flags

Navy with white font

Make me nauseous 

As we pass them 

On the country roads

That lead to our 

Hidden paradise

I counted four today

When we went to the

Feed store

Those fucking flags

The yellow ones

With the snake

The confederate

What are they thinking, tonight?

Should I be preparing?

I suppose gun shots are normal out here

But I can’t get used to them

Yesterday I made eye contact

With a man my age

With a sticker

On his pickup truck

And when will the neighbors

Know who we are?

Can we keep them

From finding out?

I met Mike

He wants to be your buddy

He wants you to join his gun club

(We have no guns)

In my purple plaid, leggings,

hoop earrings and light beard

Who does he think I am?

Or Steve

who shot a deer who limped onto our property

And you helped him carry her away

And said you need to wash the blood

off your truck bed, pronto

and he asked, “the wife?”

And you, not dishonest, said, “yes.”

Do Mike and Steve talk

at the gun club?

Have they seen us holding hands

in your pickup

in the parking lot

of Tractor Supply?

You hug me tight

And say we’ll be just fine

I agree 

that’s a lot of “what ifs” 

This is our land

This is our dream

But those fucking flags

Those fucking flags

Those fucking flags

Self-care Sea Slug

I woke up thinking I was going to write a pretty powerful blog entry. I’ve been trying to comprehend MAGA people and how they can so blindly follow trump. Something about it seems familiar to me, and I realized, I can relate it to somewhat in my devotion as a once die-hard Morrissey fan, even in the face of his bigotry again and again. It was the media against him! But he made his allegiances pretty clear in mid 2019 when he wore a button of a far-right racist British hate group on Jimmy Kimmel live.

This blog entry, about how I do somewhat understand trumpees, is something I’d like to write eventually. However, it brings up years of pain and mental health crises that I realized, I don’t want to think about this morning! Although I mapped it all out in my head while tending to the chickens (distracted much?) and I felt the surging energy to get the words out NOW, I felt my heart racing and I just realized, this isn’t the time. This also made me realize what an positive impact giving up this cult hero had on my life.

Something I’ve been wrestling with is writing about trauma. I used to do it mindlessly, and if I may say so, quite well. I’ve been told I really capture the feelings in my work of what it is like to be in some horrible situations, such as isolation, abuse and rape. I was disconnected from it though. And it hurt me. Writing it and sharing it almost always lead to drinking, drug use, and self-harm. And in worst scenarios, pretty verbally abusive behavior towards my partner, following a reading of Show Trans in Boston. I haven’t really written in a while. Not anything that I was very connected to, but now I am. And I want to do it in a way that is healing and healthy.

I started a more creative piece (I did write those blog entry updates recently, but was pretty dissociated) about the past few years: my time spent in the psych ward, addiction problems, and probably the most traumatic of all, Joey’s and my year long breakup after 6 years together. It was a breakup I thought would be forever, and in fact, for the first 3 months I thought I’d never see him or my chosen family again, because it was too painful for me. It was one of the worst traumas I’ve been through. It is something I think I need to write about to heal. But when I’ve tried lately, and even shared some of it at my writing group, I feel awful.

I’m taking two writing courses over the next few months. One is called I Am Here: Affirmations as Forms of Resistance. I’ve only gone to one zoom meetup so far and it was AMAZING. This workshop is three more weeks and it’s free, with a suggested donation to the cafe in NYC sponsoring it. I highly recommend it so far. The other one is starting tomorrow. It’s called Writing for Happiness, Healing & Health. This one is 8 weeks, twice a week, and I paid for it. I’m hoping these two workshops will help me get some ideas about how to approach some of these difficult topics.

In other news, I’ve been working a lot of my visual art, namely my marker drawings. I want to start selling it, starting as prints. I’ve ordered some samples, and I should have at least 3 up for sale on my etsy store within a few weeks. I find real refuge in my art. It is pretty purely joyful, featuring expressive animal portraits and vibrant patterned backgrounds. I’ve been working on these types of pieces for about 6 years, and I plan to keep going with the series. Sometimes, that’s just what I need. So instead of writing that article about current events and cult mentalities, today I am working on a portrait of a sea slug. And I feel pretty good about that.

Hard on Myself

Does anyone else find they are ridiculously hard on themselves? Like, why? Why am I beating myself up over nothing? Today I had my writers group and I went to a zoom workshop online about making zines. Why do I feel like I could never make a good zine? Why am I so down on my writing? I just had an amazing reading. I have barely even tried making a zine. Oh and that’s the other thing. It feels overwhelming.

I should really feel proud of myself. I have so much I am doing to find connection. My writers group, a queer open mic I might start, guitar lessons starting soon, a memoir writing class. It’s okay that I don’t have everything perfectly mapped out right this second! I can’t even bask in success without moving on to the next “problem.”

When I was a kid, a lot of my worth was defined externally. Grades, soccer, awards, whether I was popular. I think I got it in my head somewhere that I have to produce, produce, produce to be a worthy human being. It’s exhausting.

And I’m always finding the negative. I’m really trying to change this. I watched a TED talk today called “This is why you might be depressed and anxious.” It made me feel like I’m on the right track: life outside in nature and building more connections with people. I also need to find a way to sustain feelings of pride in myself. Maybe I should write about that next.

I really want to assess why I’m doing something if it’s not to love myself, love others, or experience the beauty of life.

Another struggle is writing about bad times. I have a feeling I need to get some more of it out, from the past 6 years, particularly the past few. I also feel like it might make for good reading. But when I try, it’s too painful and I dissociate from the writing. How do I do this in a healthy, productive way that encourages healing and growth? That is one of my current main focuses. I’m hoping the class I take about memoir writing and healing can help me come to some answers on that.

Lastly: I am a good bunny parent! My bunnies have PTSD and a very very difficult breed to care for. I am doing my best! No I’m not perfect and don’t spend 24/7 doting on them but they have great lives, especially given where they came from, and I take care of all their needs. I am a good person and doing right by them! For the last time I need so seriously let this one go. It’s OK if they don’t appear to adore me like my cats do. It doesn’t mean I’m not a good person or doing a good job. This is just counter productive because then I avoid much time with them to avoid the bad feelings.

I really need to relax in many areas. Tonight I’m going to try not to worry about “projects” and maybe do some yoga and meditation, and if writing comes to me that would be great but no pressure. I need to cut myself a break!