Art-stress, and a poem about nature

Aw man, tonight I’m not feeling great. I made a self-portrait and it seems to have really messed me up. I feel agitated….really on edge and spacey. I did it in my old style I used to in high school. I guess it just took me back to that time in my life. I wasn’t thinking about it while I was working, I was just sort of in a trance for hours. It’s a really good piece too. I wish I could just feel good about it.

It’s been really frustrating lately that creativity triggers me. Joey suggested that maybe I draw nature and not people if I’m going to do black and white pencil drawings. I do want to make some art of nature, but I want to be able to do all kinds of things. It’s frustrating. I really have to watch out for my mental health though.

I want to take another writing course that will help me hopefully write some short stories. I’m worried about this though, too. Can I no longer do any art that has a dark side to it? I don’t want everything I make to be light and positive. Do I? I mean, it’s a valid question. What is the point of making art that doesn’t feel good? Does it serve a higher function? Or bring a deeper satisfaction long term? I dunno.

Can I write happy short stories? I guess. It’s interesting that it seems shallow for some reason. That seems like an immature outlook, of the suffering artist. I just want to be able to express a range of things in my work. Hmm…

Well, I don’t have to figure it all out at once. What I discovered tonight is that doing portraits in my old high school style probably isn’t healthy for me right now. It doesn’t mean I have to stick with light subject matter forever. I just need to be careful of this. I think I’m going to have to develop new styles, which is actually exciting.

I’m writing this all largely in an attempt to calm myself down. I want to go to bed pretty soon, because I go to bed pretty early and wake up around 5 am. I slept a lot today though. I’m trying to just apply some self love and forgiveness. Here, also, is a new poem about nature. Typing that out will calm me down.

In The Early January Light

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

A trail of paw prints

leading across the frozen pond

to the island

where a fox beds down in the tall grasses

Spots along the bank 

where the snow is dug up

from the deer, eating the grass

The wind whistles low in my ears

I have cold hands

and the world seems just a little bit

fuzzy

Tree-covered hills in the distance

grey

while the trees in the foreground

appear almost black

Four crows

cut across that grey expanse

beneath the white-yellow orb

and the encroaching clouds. 

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.

New Year’s Reading

I’m so happy with how my reading went tonight. When it first started, I blanked. I was so tempted to just close out of the streaming programs and apologize later that I had a panic attack. But something made me take that leap of faith, and it wasn’t dissociation. It was bravery.

I was smart to put the poem “Joey” first because it loosened me up and made me smile. Ah man, I can’t believe there were like 10 viewers. It’s really awesome and encouraging.

I noticed a lot of patterns and themes in my writing that I hadn’t before. One of the big ones is longing to be an animal and relating with animals more than humans. I hadn’t realized how prevalent this was until I listened to the recording afterwards.

There were a few times I stumbled and lost my place but for the most part, I was present, in a way that I never used to be for my readings in 2011-2016. I feel really accomplished. And not totally freaked out now that it’s over, like I want to self harm or something. Not at all.

Woo!

I’m going to copy in a few poems I read.


Joey

He is effortlessly himself

Light blue eyes

And a messy ginger beard

His chest hair creeps

Above his white tee shirt

And I am left dizzy 

With the caress of my waist

I have been flighty

But he has been steady

Wise and kind

He is my man

We kiss among August fireflies

We laugh so hard over coffee

And when I’m in his arms

He smells like bonfires and sawdust

Like forests and home. 

A grey ambiance

Blurry winter sun

Lavender and yellow sky

A grey ambiance

Light orange mushroom

On a log that is the den

For creatures unknown

A peeling birch tree

One gunshot far away

The crunching of leaves

Black cherry towers

So heavy, tall, and dark

The creaking of pines

Birds

Bluejay lands on branch

Chickadees eat the ragweed

Sky is a pale grey

Pinetrees reach toward the sun

Needles cover the earth below

Dark green boughs; still, cold air

At home with the land

A red tail hawk flies overhead

I sing to myself.

The stratosphere breaks

Light and airy thoughts

Sky cracks of yellow, white, and orange

Brilliant sun through slate lavender clouds

Blush orange and cream horizon

Steel blue shapes, moody

Drifting whisps

Dusty rays of light descend

Ink on my cold hands

I long for community

And fear others humans

Navy hills loom

A pheasant thumps her wings

And disappears into the pines

Four crows fly overheard

Talking to one another

Humans belong to the land

Humans belong to the sky

And I have a clear vision of myself

(Writer, artist, healer, builder, animal) 

Then the stratosphere breaks

Revealing baby blue. 

Naked

My pale naked form

In the white winter window light

It’s Christmas and it’s snowing

Thick, warm air radiates

My walls are baby blue

My angled ceiling is larch wood

My blankets are soft fleece

I begin my reconnaissance

Of belly fat and cellulite

Of unruly dark hairs that poke out

Of the scars on my thighs

Whose origin I’m ashamed to recall

Of so called

Hip dips

But this time I halt

These reprimands are just habitual

Perhaps, maybe, bear with me….

My body is sacred

Male, female,

Or person on a journey

To be as I am, terrifying

But worth it

Just like my ancestors

I take this awkward, two-legged form

To the animals, we probably all look mostly the same

The ancient wisdom before Rome

That we are creatures of earth

The queer realization

That we are moldable clay

With solid frames

Our bones outlast us

This once horrified me

I read of a lesbian feminist

Who said we may parade as men

With privilege

But the archaeologists 

Will know the truth

This is absurd

But made me feel trapped

I dreamt of sanding  down my hip bones

Was there a way?

I was a frankenstein monster in my mind

Where is the border between gender affirmation

And endless dysmorphic struggle? 

I would transition, and still not feel alright

Testosterone gave me

The gift of my light beard

Fashioned me a baritone

Made me able to exist

Estrogen gives me

A shape and a softness

I now cherish

In which I feel at home, for now.

My pale naked form 

In the white winter window light

The expansive air

I breathe in deeply 

My own body

With no judgement

Just love

As a landscape


I will post the video of my

A Difficult Day

I’m reading live on Zoom in a couple days. Right now I’m freaking out that what I have isn’t good enough. It was a hard day. Why am I insecure? I hold onto past events and project a negative future. I sit in a brain state of judgement, rather than just letting it be. On days like this, I forget what it feels like to even enjoy myself.

*

Sometimes when I look at the horizon I feel nothing. Sometimes I feel empty and lonely and uninspired. I don’t feel I belong. I feel sad and afraid, and sometimes I’m not even sure why. All I can do is accept this, and breathe. Fighting it makes it worse. 

When I was a child, I avoided these feelings by constantly living in a fantasy world. When I got to be a teen, that magic ability wore off and I became depressed. I still miss that escape. My Neverland. It’s what I try to return to when I’ve abused substances or lost myself in another person.

We tell these stories about who we are again and again.We form grooves in our brain. We wear down pathways. Who am I if not my trauma? It’s a very good question with which to start. 

Self-criticism is a knife with which I cross out and delete words. Heaven forbid I appear trite. When sometimes it’s these words that are most true. But I cut out what might seem like crap to others. Who? 

Forget them. What is it I need from writing this piece? 

I’m trying to focus on how much I’ve grown. My resilience is amazing. Just this year alone, I am more independent, happy, steady, calm, secure, creative, confident, and stable than I have been in a long time. I am valuing and taking care of myself. I have an awareness of my mind and body. 

What would it feel like to be secure in myself as an artist? What would it feel like to be secure in myself, period? 

Cravings are intense. For sex, for drugs, even for too much coffee and chocolate. I am still an addict, and maybe one forever. It’s learning how to ride those waves, I suppose. What to consume in moderation and what to abstain from and when.

I hope I feel better tomorrow. That is my intention. But if not, I do think I am doing a good job of accepting my state. No matter what, I’ll be okay. I learned that with the trauma of losing Joey for a while. I lived. The chickens being killed was also a horror I survived. I can deal with sadness. It’s better than the anxiety to avoid it. It will pass. I will remember how to feel good again.

*

Here’s a link to info about my reading on New Year’s Day: https://www.facebook.com/events/730537194245523

Journey with Estrogen, Pt. 3

One of the first things I noticed when I went off testosterone was that I started crying a lot. It wasn’t necessarily bad. Sometimes I cried because I felt grateful. Another very interesting change, at least to me, was that I started getting goosebumps from music like I hadn’t in a very long time. Possibly before I started T. It started happening all the time and it felt really good. Music just became such an emotional, physical experience in a way it hadn’t since I had to/ decided to give up smoking weed and drinking.

I want to reiterate that this is just my experience. I imagine it is different for everyone. A lot of my reactions to estrogen fall in line with gender stereotypes, but that doesn’t mean they do for everybody.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that some of my psychosis can come back when my estrogen is higher. Could be a coincidence, because it’s also happened before on T. But I do notice a pattern that it happens more with estrogen. I started having very paranoid feelings about the safety of our pets and our family. I also started seeing these dark, shadowy shapes all the time. It was scary. Luckily we adjusted my meds and that seemed to take care of it. I was also under a lot of stress with the election and covid.

I started feeling a spiritual connection with the moon. I left crystals out under the full moon light to charge them. I built an altar in the pine woods. I’ve been drawn more and more towards the mystical. I really would like to reach out to people who are pagan and learn more about how I can develop my spiritual side and a spiritual community. I’ve been really needing that, and its something that I struggle with. My interests are Celtic paganism, with a queer and anticolonial lens as I connect with my ancestors. I also really like a lot of the teachings of Buddhism. I feel like I need more structure with this.

I’ve always loved hard, but it feels even harder with estrogen. Sometimes I just look at Joey, or even just think about him, and I’m overwhelmed. It isn’t just emotionally, but bodily. I will remember a kiss and I literally get weak in the knees and have to rest for a moment to collect myself. It was ridiculous seeming at first, but it actually feel great. I’ve been celibate for mental health reasons for about a year, so I can’t say how estrogen effects my sex life. But I can guess it will enhance it. I feel more in tune with the moment. Of course, this is due to lots of factors, but the hormonal shift is definitely when of them. Waiting for sexual attention isn’t as excruciating, and fantasizing is much more rich.

Now, a story.

On one of my ketamine treatment trips, I imagined all the people in my life as a pride of lions. Thinking of holy cat creatures is a reoccurring theme. I imagined myself, and what kind of lion I would be. I imagined a sort of female lion, with some masculine characteristics (a small tuft of mane). I would have the female responsibilities (except I couldn’t be a hunter so….well, whatever.) I would be attracted to male lions and my partner would love me best of all the female lions in the pack. I wouldn’t get pregnant, but I would be submissive in a consentsual way, and I would be joyfully protected.

I also thought about myself in a “primitive” society, more in tune with nature, and how I would be likely more accepted (well, depends, but play along) as a gender nonconforming person, and how colonialism and christianity was what messed that up. I think I’d be an artist, and also learning the art of healing, with herbs but also spiritually. Including the healing powers of psychedelics.

Anyway, lastly physical. It’s weird to know that I can get pregnant right now, if I wanted. I sometimes have longings for it, believe it or not, or maybe just freezing my eggs. I also have very strong desires to get married. I do not wish to give birth physically, and I know I am not ready. But I NEVER expected to have maternal or even parental instincts in my life. It’s very surprising.

Some more bodily changes: curvy hips. More pronounced bottom. Softer skin. My beard grows slower and lighter, as does the rest of my body hair. Slimmer stomach. Honestly, I’m just thrilled with all of it.

Oh and for the record, I still use he/him/his pronouns most the time and I’ll tell you nicely if that changes.

Ok, I guess this is all about my journey with estrogen for now. Thanks for reading this 3 part series. A lot of this stuff is invisible, and I feel like no one sees me for the real me. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to be known. Good night.

A life worth living, pt. 3

For the first time this evening, it occurred to me that I am a “recovering addict.” I guess that’s kind of a loaded, stereotyped term. I have been aware for a while that I struggled with addiction. But I went to my first groups related to the issue this week. My addictions were marijuana and alcohol. Alcohol was more problem in the past, but I would switch between the two. I am not against marijuana usage, and I haven’t ruled out that I will never use it again. It had many benefits and many fond memories attached. But at the level I was smoking, for me, it was causing psychosis. And yet I still couldn’t back off even a little. A lot of people don’t think marijuana is a serious drug, but in this case, it was at risk of really fucking up my life. I wrote more about that in a previous post.

Anyway, today I had a meeting with my partner and my drug counselor and I realized I’m really really hard on myself. I’ve realized this before. But it is to the point where I don’t believe I’m deserving of love. This was a breakthrough for me. I’ve had people suggest it to me, but it never really sank in until today. I don’t trust that I deserve a loving relationship. And that’s why I’m always scared of losing it. That was a lot of the paranoia related to marijuana, and it was a self-fulfilling prophecy as I became a more and more difficult person not to love, but with whom to be in a relationship.

I’m looking back on many things differently now. There was a guy I very much wanted to be with, before I met Joey. I took his rejection very hard, because I took it as more evidence that I was not lovable- even though he was saying he did have love for me, he just didn’t want to be in a relationship with me because my life was honestly a wreck. I think about that differently now. I’m glad things happened the way they did, and I feel really lucky that I found someone who was able to be with me, through my struggles. And we’re still together.

Anyway, this is the part where I would usually berate myself for being touchy feeley or something but I don’t want to do that anymore. I feel blessed tonight and I wanted to share in writing.

The day I did nothing.

Today is already difficult. It’s 8:49 AM and I don’t have plans. I’ll be spending the day alone. I tried working a bit on my novel over coffee, but it feels very strained. My interest isn’t there. I have a number of creative projects in my queue that I don’t feel like doing. I want something new.

It’s at least sunny. I struggle worse on days without sunlight. The trees are bare, but from where I’m sitting, I can see a bird nest. The light is refreshing. November through February are hard in upstate New York. I’m trying to appreciate the sunlight, rather than wish I were somewhere else.

And so, I decided today would be the day I did nothing and to try to feel good about it. It was nearly impossible to feel all that good. I spent most the day sleeping, after picking up the apartment. I read over some of my literature for my mental health-related classes, particularly DBT. “Today,” I thought, “I will just observe.” My legs were sore from walking around Ithaca so much lately anyway. I noted colors of things. I stood outside and practiced 4-point breathing.

The most that can be said about today is I haven’t gotten really upset over anything. So there is the silver lining I suppose.

Ithaca, New York

It’s been four whole months since I wrote on this blog. A lot has happened. We are no longer full-timing in our RV. In fact, Serenity is in Florida with Joey’s dad currently. So what happened? Well, after 9 months away, Joey was really missing our friend Erica who lives in Syracuse. I was also feeling lonely and drawn back to the east. I was feeling the desire to settle somewhere, and maybe part-time RV if we could make it financially feasible. We cut our Pacific Northwest exploration short, and hope to get back someday. We cut across the country, from Oregon to Washington to Montana. We pretty much just drove and slept. The Montana mountains and forests were pretty. Then it was on to North Dakota. The Badlands were also visually intriguing. I saw another buffalo when we stopped one night. It was all a blur, because we traveled cross country in about a week. Minnesota turned to Wisconsin to Indiana to Ohio without much excitement. Then we were suddenly back in New York State, and that was weird.

We ended up back on the west side of Syracuse, staying in Erica’s mom’s driveway. It was a stressful few weeks. Joey had to set up his tent and workshop in the front yard. I felt really lost. It was great seeing Erica and other people again, but everything felt really uncertain and I felt a little trapped. I knew very quickly that I didn’t want to be in Syracuse. Joey was starting to get really depressed, and he still is. The constant stress and work of travelling apparently held it off for him, but now it’s front and center. I was also struggling. We were looking for places to live, maybe for 6 months, in the general Syracuse region. I saw my therapist. I vented a lot about the difficulties of RV life and my fears for the future. I casually mentioned how I wished we could move to Ithaca, because that was probably our best option as queer, trans, and aspie people in Central New York, and I had some internet friends who lived there. My therapist asked me why I hadn’t told Joey this, and I realized I should. He was like, “That’s funny, I was thinking the same thing.” So we started searching for apartments.

We’re about an hour and a half south of Syracuse, but it’s a completely different world. It certainly isn’t perfect. It’s a very white, artsy, hippy, liberal college town. It’s still Central New York. But I feel way safer here, and there are resources. I have a new therapist who is queer and great, and an advocate for my disabilities, and it’s all free. I started a queer writer meetup group and I feel like I’m making some friends and slowly building community. Community seems really important to people here. And there are a lot of trans people. Actually, I feel happier here than I did anywhere else so far.

I realized I need people in my life that I see regularly and who I care about. More than just Joey and Drew and the cats. It’s not enough just to meet passing strangers and do readings in cities once a month. If I’m ever going to live my life to the fullest, I have to get close to people. I’m a lot better than I was when we left Syracuse. I feel like I’ve clarified my boundaries. I’m still super anxious around people, but it’s getting better. I think Ithaca is a good fit.

It’s funny, because my original plan was to go to Ithaca College. I was 17 or 18, and I thought it would be perfect for me. My dad communicated that it was too expensive. I was not a great high school student so I didn’t get aid, and this was before he left on disability (or whatever happened. Early retirement? I’m not sure.) Anyway, I got pretty much no financial aid. I was a traumatized kid too focused on trying to survive and transition to really care, so I let my dad handle most my college finances and decisions (for better and mostly worst). I went for SUNY Purchase, and eventually dropped out. And hey, I never would have written my first book if I hadn’t gone there. And I got more familiar with New York City…a little. Beyond that, I’m not sure I got anything positive out the experience. I can’t help wondering what would have happened if I went to Ithaca from the start. The queers I’ve met here have seemed stable. Of course, I’m older now. But it’s interesting to wonder about.

We have a tiny apartment we can’t really afford on the Southside of Ithaca. It’s quite convenient to the Commons/Downtown area, which means I can bike places. We’re near a Wegmans. I can go to cafes, which is where I am today. I signed up and got a scholarship to take two classes a semester at the Community School of Art and Music. The queer writers group meets once a week. I am biking distance to water falls (which are mostly dried up from drought) and a swimming spot on Cayuga Lake. My needs are being better met. Joey’s business is doing better, even if he is really depressed. My book sales are pretty much the same.

Tomorrow I have an appointment my lawyer and advocate to talk about DSS and the stupid internal hearing for “intentional fraud” that I’m going to have to probably go to. They want $3,000. It’s total bullshit and bullying. I did nothing wrong. I will be glad when the meeting is over, and gladder when I just have SSI and don’t have to even deal with this. It’s been super stressful for me. I also have to see about getting foodstamps and temporary assistance while I’m here in Tompkins County. I have a meeting for that tomorrow too, which my advocate is also coming to.

Anyway, we have the apartment for a year. I really don’t know what’s happening. There’s been some talk of moving to Canada. I don’t know how serious that is, or if I really want it. But we are here at least until next summer. We may take a winter RV trip if we can.

I’ll post again when I’ve got something to say. There have been trips to the Adirondacks, New York City, and Buffalo that I have not covered. Oh well. Until next time. Thanks for reading my thoughts.

A rainy morning in Yosemite

I am realizing how much I missed pine trees, and shade, and rain. It’s such a relief to be here. This is my first time in Yosemite National Park. I’ve barely explored at all yet, but I already am in love. The smell of pine, and rain, and campfires… cool air… It’s wonderful. It’s supposed to rain most the time we are here, unfortunately. Joey and I are going to take a shuttle and go exploring very soon. We have an umbrella.

The AWP Conference in Los Angeles went really well. It was good for me. I sold books, and I’m hoping to reap the rewards long-term. I met people and networked and that kind of stuff that doesn’t come entirely with ease. I’m feeling good about it.

But I’m feeling even better about heading north! It feels like we are finally free. For the longest time, everything was structured around Joey getting surgery. Then I had my big reading in San Francisco, and then AWP. Now we can do as we please. Joey’s business is going well too.

We didn’t end up going through the Eastern Sierras via route 395. It was snowy. Instead we went via route 99 and 140. We stopped briefly at Red Rock Canyon.

Last night we were watching Joey’s Firefly DVDs and we realized that a lot of it is totally filmed in Acton, where we were staying. That was awesome, but I gotta say, I am ready for a long break from the dry south west. Especially Los Angeles County. Especially Antelope Valley.

It’s funny how I have trouble recalling specific anecdotes to share. I have this vague sense of them, but they are just beyond my reach. Memory is weird.

I’ve been stressed about the anti-trans laws and sentiment in the US lately. I’m privileged to currently be able to put some space between me and the realities of civilization.

So yeah, I’m gonna get back to doing that.

OH! OH OH OH. I almost forgot! We went to a wildcat sanctuary! With tigers, leopards, cheetahs, snow leopards (my favorite). It was awesome.

Dealing with scary people

I want to talk about some of the crap of RV life… and ultimately, what makes it still great.

Being trans (not so visibly) and queer (very visibly) my boyfriend and I face unique challenges. It’s often hard to know for sure when people are discriminating against you. Actually, you usually know. You can’t prove it, but you know. But such is the world we live in that we second guess ourselves. So some of the crap we’ve dealt with could be crap that anyone might deal with. But when it all lines up, and you know you stand out as different, it’s hard to dismiss it as irrelevant.

First, there are the bible people. The truck that says “Final Fight Bible Radio” is still here, patrolling. A bible group meets in the lodge. There are lots of Jesus fish on cars. This leads to a generally intimidating environment.

Then the other day I was at the pool, and some guy kept going on about “homos,” loudly. Another day at the pool, I decided to go use the public shower afterwards. I’m a trans guy, with no plans for bottom surgery. I have female genitalia on an otherwise male body, and that’s usually fine with me. Still, showers usually have locked doors, and I’ve had top surgery and I’m on T, so I’m not that worried about it. I do know that I am read as effeminate, which is fine by me, but I try to play it safe. Still, a shower in an empty locker room felt fine. There were no locks on the doors, just two curtains. One lead to the changing area, the other into the shower. So two barriers. As I said, I’m the only one in there. The shower water is running. And suddenly someone punches the shower curtain. Meaning someone has entered the first curtain. I’m startled as fuck, but I manage to yell, “Excuse me!” And I hear some scrambling and nothing more happens. No apology or anything. I’m standing there, dissociated, trying to figure out what happened. All I can say is that someone was likely trying to startle me, or possibly worse and thought better of it when I yelled.

When I snapped out of it, I quickly dried off and went outside. There was only one guy out there. A middle aged white dude, smoking, who quickly started walking away. I followed him, and watched where he went for as long as I could.

The next day, Joey and I were hanging around the pool, waiting for our laundry to finish. Joey was about to lay on a lounge chair but when he sat, he realized it was soaked with rain water. Another older white dude, with a military hat and a pony tail, walks by right at this time. “What, it’s just a little water and dirt,” he says, in a sort of would-be-friendly teasing way. Joey laughed and was like, “Well, I’m already soaked, might as well just jump in the pool right?” The guy kept at it. “It’s just water. Just sit, you wuss.” This time his tone was nasty.

Today we were driving, and another old white dude pulled us over to yell at us for speeding and saying he has our license plate number and will report us. We weren’t speeding. He wouldn’t step away from the car.

And after that, someone dumped Joey’s laundry out while it was still running.

Add to this, we get dirty looks when we go for walks. This RV park is getting really frustrating. Unfortunately, it’s really convenient because Joey needs to get work supplies in Hollywood, and I have my conference coming up in LA. It also is basically free for us, which is…necessary. But I’m really sick of this.

We got away boondocking near the Kern River. This was going well. We visited the hot springs again, and people around weren’t bad. Just hippy types. Then, one morning, someone bangs on our door and windows at like 7 am. “Knock knock anyone home?!” Obnoxious, not even giving us any time to get up before knocking more like crazy.

So it’s these two like 30 something year old white dudes,  clearly (and later, admittedly) on meth and who knows what else. The first thing they say: “You guys aren’t cops are you? You aren’t gonna give us trouble, are you?”

They had a flat tire, and their car is parked right next to where we are camping. They are just all around rude and demanding we fix their problem. Joey helps because he wants to get rid of them. There are two girls with them. One is passed out in the back seat, and they are trying to coax her out to go down to the hot springs. “Fine, we can find some pussy down there I’m sure,” one says. “I’m so horny I’ll hump a tree.”

Some other guys show up. Hippy guys. “Hey, you guys got any spare pussy?” the douche bags ask. Hippies are unimpressed. “No.” “What, you don’t wanna share?”

I sip coffee and make it blatantly clear that while Joey will be taking their tire into town, I will be here with the RV and all our belongings.

“Hey where’s my coffee?” douche bag one says.

“I don’t know.”

He laughed but looked pissed off. “Your buddy has no sense of humor,” he said to Joey. He proceeded to offer him drugs, which Joey declined.

While the douches were at the hot springs, Joey asked the girl in the backseat twice if she wanted a ride to town, in case she was in trouble. She declined.

Then we hightailed out of there, not wanting to be there when they came down.

You get very pretentious people in RV parks and camp spots, and also very desperate people. We don’t really fit either mold. Both can be unsafe and scary.

But ultimately, that is the great thing about RV life: we can always drive away.