Travelling While Trans*, Part 5

This part is hard to write because after TDOR I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay or go. Either way it would cost me money. On one hand I had flashbacks when M., my AirBnB host, watched TV until late at night. I couldn’t tell her to lower the volume. I wasn’t physically able to stand up at those moments. I realize that I might have Complex PTSD from the time I live four years on campus and any request to honor the night time was denied.

The following days I read some books, wrote some code, slept until noon which isn’t a good idea because I’m an early bird, and made two trips to Den Haag city center. I was too tired. In the hindsight I should have gone early.

Travelling While Trans*, Part 4

This time I traveled to the Netherlands, specifically Zuid Holland. It was a weird trip even before I packed my stuff because part of me did not wanted to go. I felt that I have no reason to go but went anyway.

Traveling to Den Haag, in English The Hague, was really long because my AirBnB host told me that I can check in either before 3 PM or after 8:30 PM. This wouldn’t be a problem under normal circumstances, but my bus had scheduled arrival to Rotterdam sometime before 2 PM. So I decided not to take a risk and waited at Rotterdam’s train station lounge. I was awfully tired.

After almost 22 hours on the road I arrived to my host’s place. My ability to read maps is as bad is it always has been, estrogen or testosterone, doesn’t really matter. I’m bad at it. The next day I don’t remember much what I did, but my Github says I was at least part of the day active and wrote some code, and I also bought some food.

On Thursday I went to Amsterdam. I’ve spent there my afternoon and evening. I looked around since I haven’t diarrhea and I didn’t vomit like the last time I was in the region. No guide, no pressure, no group of people I had to stick to.

In the evening I attended Transgender Day Of Remembrance event. Personally I wouldn’t use torches at any event, probably watched too many war documentaries. There were people of color involved so that part was nice. After a speech we read the names of the people who were killed in past year. I read only one because I left early because I didn’t know how to get back after 9 PM and because I underestimated the weather.

Next day I had a rest day. That means some coding and reading (It was Sapkowski’s The Witcher – Storm season). The rest will be in the next post.

Visible similarities

There are people who are visibly similar to me, or you or someone, depends how self-centered I want to be. And it’s a trap. Two similar books on bookshelf which fall into same genre can be completely different. I didn’t realize that until recently.

In the past year I started following a lot of trans people on Twitter. Up until then it was a place where I followed general news and some people in tech so I could at least keep in touch with latest trends. In past six months trans people became more dominant. In past three months autistic people became the other major group I followed.

I don’t want to say that these groups are bad in general. They are just bad for me and my mental health. In both groups there is a lot of hurt and bad experiences. Suicide and abuse are quite common themes. SJW and anti-GG movements create political movement. I don’t want to say that it’s bad in general, but being political is bad for me.

Don’t take me wrong, politics is important. I just have low tolerance for bullsh!t. I’m also more right leaning than left. I’m centrist at best. Being political with both trans and autistic people meant going with politics I disagree a lot of time. I can’t sell myself for ideas in which I don’t believe. Politics of neither wing is inline with my thinking.

Left wing wants to tax me and gives me freedom who to marry. Right wing doesn’t want to tax me, but limits my, LGBT, rights. Being transgender means that no matter what happens my rights are going to be thrown under the bus no matter who runs the government. There are Christian democrats in almost every coalition so I gave up fighting for LGBT rights.

The autistic people I met on Twitter complained about there problems with society instead of sharing their solutions. I know that complaining is good from time to time, but constant complaining isn’t good for me.

So for the time being I’m semi-leaving twitter. My personal account is locked. I have my working account where I follow tech news. I’m happy about it. I can also live with calling right leaning person. I can be progressive with social stuff. You can call me an asshole, but for me not giving a f*ck about somethings in life is self-care.

I can’t fight some stuff. I don’t have that many spoons. I can pick up my sword everyday and fight my own battles.

Mental health and 1000 origami cranes

I have been in survival mode since the moment I got on a plane at JFK to Prague airport eleven years ago. I didn’t want to go back to my passport country. That was the moment when one of the core issues of my depression has begun. One year before this moment I packed my stuff without any intention to ever return at age thirteen.

As puberty hit and I went to high school in my passport country two other core issues emerged independent of each other, being a transgender woman and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and yet intertwined with first issue. I’ve suffered from ASD mostly through Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and problems with executive functioning. The less apparent was my inability to use language like every one around me, translating from one language to another is almost insolvable problem, I can’t do it. What’s worse my brain doesn’t use word when thinking so translating ideas into words most of the time a daunting task. I couldn’t speak how I felt because I had no words for what I was feeling.

This led to a suicidal depression I’ve had to live through during high school because whenever I tried to express myself and couldn’t use Czech I tried to use English. Answer from people supposedly close to me: ‘Speak Czech.’ And I could not. So my solution was to keep everything inside and wait it out.

Fast forward to the end of college, I’ve started to deal with gender dysphoria by going to a doctor who prescribed me hormones but it took me a year between initial contact and this moment. The reason why it took me this long is, again, my inability to use language, especially Czech and feared silencing again and it took me 6 months before making initial contact to translate everything they might ask me from English to Czech. Since going on estrogen my life has been less miserable until January 2014.

This time ASD came by to tell me that I can’t really be adult like everyone else. Autistic burnout, this is the term used on forum for autistic people, happened to me and changed my life upside down. This is also a time when I started my Real Life Test so there was a lot which was going on in my life. Burnout on autistic spectrum means something different compared to “normal” burnout. It means that you were stretching yourself more than you should’ve and your spoon bank went bankrupt. You can no longer borrow spoons from the next day, and you have to slow down considerably and start changing how you live your life.

A lot of times it means changing one’s working environment, for some it might mean homelessness because they can’t afford to pay rent for others even death, for me it meant that I can hardly go back to school due to sensory issues. Sometimes I have problems to go to groceries and buy food for myself due to the noise which normal people consider, well, normal. Around September another part of my depression emerged, being in Czech republic for eleven years and wanting to go away.

I haven’t realized how much this part of depression affected me until I got out for ten or so days and felt a little bit spoonless but more productive, less anxious, and overall happier. From the fifth day on I’ve cried myself to sleep because I knew I had to return and didn’t want to but I also didn’t want to risk going off hormones. So my feelings were mixed.

Today, the day I’m writing this, I have made last crane for senbazuru. It’s strange feeling because for past ten months I couldn’t focus on anything, may be some times on a book, and now I made over 500 origami cranes in four days. I probably would call this miracle. I also have planed one trip out of Czech republic for next month, and commission for SRS will be January next year, and then I’m moving home.

I don’t know where home is, and that’s OK at the moment.

I’ve been also falling back in love with coding which I was taught to hate by my teachers at university and people around me, mostly accountants and tax advisors who openly hated programmers. Unfortunately one of those people is my mother who was never in my support circle and sadly she’s one of my anxiety triggers so I have decided to leave her outside of what is important to me. This makes me angry and sad at the same time.

Travelling While Trans*, Part 3

Today is my last full day in Germany, if you don’t count those couple hours when I’ll be on the bus tomorrow. In this post I don’t want to talk specifically about transgender part of travelling. Instead I’ll venture into other parts of my life, being an aspie (person who lives with Asperger’s syndrome).

Living with Asperger’s means having to be careful where you go. There might a lot of people, sounds and noises, smells, tastes, and accidental touches, and it’s not hard to overwhelm autistic person, at least in my case. And there are spoons or tokens, choose what you prefer.

Travelling is exhausting for non-disabled people, but as a spoonie I have to schedule breaks between trips. Going on trip somewhere everyday during my “vacation” is simply not an option. Not being able to schedule and when needed change plan for going on a trip can be detrimental to my healthy as I’ve experienced couple of years ago.

At that time my mom took me to visit Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) countries. It was organized trip and we had no ability to change plans. My body or mind or couldn’t handle it. I puked in Belgium and in the Netherlands got diarrhea.

This time I wanted to look around because I might move here in the future, but I knew I’ll need to make some adjustments. The plan was to go on a trip every other day and have one day off. My first trip was to Bremen. It’s nice small city, but after two and half hours there my sensory issue showed up. I was prepared. My headphones went on my head, I took couple of pictures of ducks in park, I love taking pictures of ducks, and went to train station.

My second trip was to Bremerhaven. This time I didn’t have to deal with sensory issues because I could easily escape to the Weser/seashore, I don’t know which one is correct. There was less traffic than in Bremen too, and it made a significant difference. I prefer Bremerhaven over Bremen anytime.

I’m not sure if the last trip wasn’t a mistake. I knew it was a low spoon day but I went anyway. The one thing I remember from city center were bells because they took most of my spoons away. I walked around a little bit but I searched for some safe food and then returned to Brake.

Today is my recovery day and tomorrow I’m travelling back to Prague.