I guess I need to vent a little.

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I haven’t been updating this blog as frequently as I would like to largely because I feel like I have run out of things to say.  That’s obviously not true, there are always infinite things to say, but it was an excuse to hole up and hide away because that is just what I do sometimes.

I don’t really know what it is that has been eating at me these past couple of months.  I miss IDA, I guess, and I wish I had stayed longer.  I have been working as a freelance writer, which is good for a little money here and there, but it is not very fulfilling.  I haven’t gotten out much and, despite fall being my favorite time of year and Halloween being my absolute favorite day of the year, I can’t seem to even get excited about that.  I have not been as consistent as I should be with my hormone regimen and that shit isn’t even hard – I just haven’t been doing it and I don’t know why.  I started my period yesterday, which makes me hella dysphoric and I’m sure that my inability to keep a consistent hormone regimen doesn’t help my mood swings and anger issues.  I have been snapping at Lucky over everything and nothing and I had a bit of an anxiety fit over all the clutter in our room today.  Whenever I have money, I’m tempted to immediately spend it on alcohol so I can start drinking first thing when I wake up in the afternoon and get through the day with a nice buzz and a comfortable numbness.  These things are not big problems.  I am not an alcoholic or an addict of any kind and most of the things that make me anxious or upset really shouldn’t – what I am is an escapist with a huge family history of substance abuse and addiction.

In short – I don’t really think there is anything wrong with me, but I feel like there is and I don’t know why.  I am constantly upset about something, or everything and I can’t express it to others either because I can’t articulate it or I know I am being unreasonable.  I’ve been driving myself crazy inside my head for the past few weeks.

This really started a while ago – I had started feeling a little stir-crazy because I work at home and live at home and really don’t get much social interaction.  Lucky and I decided to trip shrooms together one night and wander around the neighborhood and it made me happy for a while because I pushed all the scary bad thoughts back (as I am wont to do regardless of drug use).  But as we went to bed, I was still tripping and I lied there for about an hour just thinking about life and death and all that deep shit you think about on entheogens.  Before I actually got to sleep, I came to the conclusion that one day I would kill myself.  That’s not a threat, I’m not even sure if it’s true, but I thought it just as casually as you might think about your favorite fruit.  The thought doesn’t frighten me or disturb me, really – I just don’t know where it came from or why.

That night wasn’t very long after I heard about Josh’s death.  I remember because I cried for him finally.  But I also cried for somebody new, somebody I hardly knew if ever at all.  A good friend of my family – my older cousins new him best, really, but I’ve known his mother all my life and I know I’d met him a number of times before.  His name was Matt and I had learned that he killed himself the week before.  I had also learned that he was in the closet – another Queer suicide, another Queer murder.  I didn’t know him very well at all.  I know he had a baby and, with the exception of his mother, a very conservative, unwelcoming family, and I know he used to fool around with one of his male friends.  I know he had tried to come out once, but was not accepted and was pushed right back into the closet.  He died because he couldn’t express himself and he couldn’t live with that.  Who could?  This has been on my mind for a long time…I didn’t even know Matt, really.  He was a person who lived somewhere on the outskirts of my ever-expanding world and until he died, I never knew much about him at all except that he existed.

It is an interesting habit I have – when people die, I take shrooms and trip on it.  I did it while my grandmother was dying from cancer and after she was gone.  I tripped for Josh and for Matt.  I tripped for my second cousin, even, when she died.  Someone I know somewhere I’ve been always dies and I commemorate them with a ritual shroom trip.  I don’t really know what it means and, quite honestly, I don’t know why I do most things and I don’t know what has been going on with me lately.  Perhaps I should trip on it.  Or perhaps I should be sober for a while.

I think I just don’t want to be where I am.  I’m not comfortable here – I’m anxious and angsty and tired, tired all the time.  My surrounding environment is just clutter and complacency and it makes me feel lazy and distracted.  I can’t think straight here and I hate it.  I want to go back to IDA and stay there as long as I’m welcome.  I want to make IDA happen where I am.  I wanna live in the woods and bathe in waterfalls and grow food and be a fairy with all of my beautiful Queer fairy friends who want the same.  I’m tired of television and this shitty town in this shitty state, I’m tired of concrete, cars, drama and the fucking fascist fucks who exist everywhere around here.

I have been fighting the impulse to just break shit everywhere I go (though, honestly, I don’t know why).  I think it’s time to start doing things again.  I think I have been holed up for a little too long.

Day 4, Last day at IDA June 8th – My Mom is a Dick

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Our last day at IDA was largely spent attempting to get a ride out and dealing with crazy communication problems and general chaos as the festival was still in full swing.  Lucky and I had not initially planned on leaving so early, but after getting a hold of my sister finally on Thursday, we were under the impression that we would be able to get a ride from Nashville on Saturday and that that would be the most convenient and ideal for my family.  This information turned out to be false.

I will spare the details of waiting around the camp with our gear packed while we waited for a ride and asked around, hoping and praying we’d be able to get to Nashville in time to be picked up and just skip to the part where we got a ride from a cool trans guy named Auggie who dropped us off at the Greyhound station where we said our goodbyes and wandered off on our merry way.  As we made our way downtown, we found out that we had come to Nashville in the middle of the CMA music festival, meaning that we had just walked into white redneck heaven.  Thankfully, we found shelter at a Panera bread where we could charge our phone, get some food and call my mom.  We had hoped to camp out there and wait for my sister to come give us a ride after she got off work, but our hopes were too high.

See, the reason we left early instead of staying at IDA the full five days is that my sister had told me that her friend, Mandy, was in Nashville that week and would be leaving on Saturday to go back to Martin where she and my mother live.  She also said that, though she worked that day, she would still find a way to get us home from Nashville (but she did not tell me when she was supposed to go to work, which matters to this story).  So, when we got into Nashville at 5:30pm despite our initial plan to be there by 1:00 or 2 at the latest, we were pretty peeved to find out that not only had Mandy left for Martin the night before, but that Kimmy, my sister, would be at work until 9:00.  Of course, there was nothing to be done about that, so we just waited at the Panera Bread and charged our phones, now and then talking to my mom and trying to figure out our next move.

Over the phone, my mother told me that Kimmy probably wouldn’t want to come get us so late after work being tired and all this, but I held out hope until Kimmy got home at which point, I learned that the second she stepped in the door, my mom took her car (the only available car) and went to her new boyfriend’s house where she stayed all night.  Kimmy expressed to me her fear of driving at night and falling asleep at the wheel as an excuse not to come get me after her car was returned (mom was supposed to only take an hour) and I expressed to her my anger at the fact that regardless of whether she intended to come get me, the only available car was taken for the night because our mom is selfish.  Essentially, Lucky and I were stranded.

After some wandering, we found a spot out of the way from the main roads so as not to attract unwanted attention and slept for a couple of hours underneath a tree.  Our initial plan as per Kimmy’s suggestion was to try sleeping at the Greyhound station because “hey, people do it all the time,” but the security pig there wouldn’t even let us in without a ticket – our packs made us an immediate target of pig attention while we were meandering about the city.  All the same, we made it through the night without much difficulty and the next day, Kimmy eventually came to get us (it took her six hours to make what is supposed to be a two hour drive at most because of a huge wreck on I-40) and I spent the next couple of weeks punishing mom by smoking all of her cigarettes.

Day 3 of IDA, June 7th – There Are No Things About Things…

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Lucky and I went back to the waterfall on acid – we had brought some with us and spent the first two days exploring to find an ideal place and time to take it. We could not have chosen a better place, the waterfall is absolutely amazing, and mystical and awesome (in the literal sense of inspiring awe). I had a mud bath and, instead of washing it off in the waterfall, I spent the rest of the day with my breasts bare and covered in a layer of clay – as it turns out, that was a great idea. The clay protected me from sunburn, bug bites and even, at one point, helped my breast heal after having been attacked by a thorny branch on the way back to the trail. I didn’t even notice the scratch until a couple of hours later, right under my nipple, and by then it was completely healed and the clay had kept it from getting irritated or infected.

Speaking of infection, remember that toothache I mentioned in the first post? And the root canal I refilled? See, my gums had been swollen for days since then and I was taking Ibuprofen to bring down the swelling because it’s an anti-inflammatory (also a blood-thinner, but we’ll get to that in a second) and I had no access to antibiotics (well, I did but the first person I talked to in the med tent didn’t offer me any, another thing we’ll get to in a second). Well, during lunchtime, about mid-trip, my gums busted open and I began bleeding rather profusely from my mouth. It only lasted about a minute or two and it wasn’t painful at all, just a bit bothersome but I went to the med tent and my fears were essentially put to rest. Turns out, I had had an infection in my gums, most likely from having had an open cavity. When I refilled that cavity without first treating the infection, it got trapped and my body had to find a way to expel it, which it could only do by bleeding the infection out, a reaction made easier by the Ibuprofen I had been taking for the swelling. I’m pretty proud of myself for having been able to take this all in and react well to profuse mouth bleeding on acid, honestly. But anyway, med tent person whose name I don’t recall obtaining gave me an herbal mouth wash; prickly ash, I think it was; which helped to disinfect the area and also to close up the tissue so that the bleeding would stop. If you’ve never used a prickly ash wash, it is not pleasant in the mouth hole. It actually felt like my tongue was swelling and bleeding out through my taste buds or something, it got really cool and, actually, felt pretty fucking prickly. My tongue tingled for a good few minutes after I took it, but it did help; the bleeding stopped and my face seemed to go back to normal, the swelling was gone pretty much the second the bleeding had started in the first place and all that was left to do was to keep up with basic dental hygiene with the addition of a salt water rinse at least three times a day for a week or two or however long it might take for the infection to go away and stay gone. I can happily say now that my teeth and gums are as good as they were before, despite the gingivitis I’ve probably had for years.

Backing up a notch, before the bleeding out of my mouth incident, Lucky and I had a good long tent trip. After getting back from the waterfall, we were ready to lie down and rest and be naked and alone. As wonderful as IDA is, tripping around large groups of people, even in a setting where it is completely accepted, can be very stressful and Lucky and I both experience social anxiety from time to time (theirs is a bit more severe and consistent than mine, but on acid, social situations are probably the most stressful thing we could imagine). That said, before wandering out into the common areas where people were and things were happening, we had to prepare ourselves so we hid in our tent for a while, undressed because naked is the official uniform of hallucinogens and began writing out ideas for how to create a new world in the shell of the old. We discussed the patriarchy of histories and the need for new histories – those of the oppressed, ignored and hidden third gender to the challenge the binary enforced under patriarchy. We came to recognize how all forms of oppression are connected to the patriarchy as the patriarchy is connected to them (it’s cyclical). We spent our time realizing things we knew but hadn’t been able to articulate in the same way – hierarchy begins with gender imbalances and the balance is needed back. All cultures have been affected/destroyed/appropriated in the name of dominance and expansion, structural characteristics of a patriarchal society. Basically, shit be fucked up and we aim to fix it.

On a slightly different note, Lucky and I attended a workshop about Queer herbs after the whole gum-bleeding incident which was a nice way to take my mind off of my teeth. Queer herbs refers to herbalism for gender transition and it was a very loose workshop, open to anybody with an interest and, while there wasn’t a great deal of information available, we were able to learn some things which we had not known before. For instance, I was initially under the impression that kudzu is just a shitty invasive species running rampant throughout Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky but, as it turns out, on top of being a hugely invasive species, it is also a fairly powerful phytoestrogen as well as a useful treatment for alcohol addiction because drinking alcohol with this plant will make you physically ill (in fact, I’m fairly certain this is true with most medicinal herbs and with quite a lot of Queer herbs, but perhaps not to the same extent). Another phytoestrogen is black cohosh, best paired with wild yam, according to several trans* fem people in the workshop, as the latter is heavy in progesterone. We focused quite a lot of femininizing herbs for transition because there is very limited info on that in general – most of the info I have found on herbal transition is for masculanization and while I’m sure their is a patriarchal reason for that, I also imagine it has something to do with how much harder “feminine” transition is as opposed to “masculine,” particularly since nobody seems to know of any natural anti-androgen (testosterone blockers), without which, physical changes are improbable at best and, if any do occur, they will be too slight to matter to any person who wishes for a full physical transition. Without anti-androgens, phytoestrogen supplements can only do so much, causing mostly psychological effects, but if the supplement is strong enough, it might also work for softening skin and facial features, but full breast growth might require a progesterone supplement and cannot be accomplished (at least not easily or quickly) without an anti-androgen. Lucky is suspicious of this lack of natural anti-androgens and has been doing further research on the subject in hopes of finding something promising – initially, she believed that chaste berries might have this effect because they were once used by monks to wipe out the sex drive and render themselves sterile, but they are incredibly dangerous in large doses and in small doses have the exact opposite effect. Lucky and I will be looking more into herbal transition for AMABs so that they can grow and harvest their own treatment instead of having to rely on shadily obtained pharmaceuticals.

As for my own transitional needs, I learned that pine pollen is pure testosterone. I have a feeling this might apply to most pollens, but I could be wrong and I’ve heard this about pine pollen specifically before. There are also a good number of mushrooms and fungi with high testosterone levels but I can’t remember many of the names. At some point during the workshop discussion, I started getting distracted by bugs and fractiles and things (lest we forget I was still trippin’ pretty hard) and once we started getting into AFAB transition, the discussion became a little difficult to follow because there were so many people pitching in so much different information and I, having forgotten my notebook, could no longer keep track. Anyway, I felt it would be more useful for me to remember as much of the AMAB stuff as possible because it is harder to find reliable information on that than it is to find things for AFAB transition. The most important thing I think I learned was that none of this has been studied and that any and all information about herbal gender transition has been and must be obtained through personal experience and (safe) experimentation. That said, if anybody knows anything more on the subject of herbalism and, particularly Queer herbs, or if I have said some things which are incorrect, please comment and let me know what more there is to know 🙂

Also, for those interested in herbal transition or who have experience with it, the person who facilitated the Queer herbs workshop has a mailing list at queerherbs@gmail.com for anybody interested in sharing their experiences or getting advice/information for their own experimentation.

Idapalooza and other such nonsense

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No grazing sign in front of the greenhouse outside of the med tent.

No grazing sign in front of the greenhouse outside of the med tent.

So, because IDA is out in the middle of nowhere hidden in a valley an hour from Nashville, there was little to no service which, among other things, made interaction with the internet world impossible and caused Lucky’s and my phones to kill themselves because the sheer effort of trying to find a signal was simply too much for them. So, instead I kept a written journal of my experiences at this magical queer gathering which I will transcribe here.

Day 1 of IDA, June 5th: Intense Intents In Tents
     The ride from FL was long and crowded but we made it. We left Gainesville in our friend Nova’s janky ass minivan in the middle of the night – there were seven of us crowded in with everyone’s camping supplies and traveling packs with an initial ETA of 10am, but we didn’t make it there until around noon central time because organizing a car full of crazy Queers is like herding cats. All the same, we were just in time for lunch and a good bit of exploration through the valley.
     After eating some badass food, Lucky and I set up our tent and began wandering around to aquaint ourselves with the whole beautiful community we found ourselves in – the extensive horticulture, med and self-help tents, the general scenery really. There is a creek which flows through the valley which Lucky and I followed as far up stream as we could manage. While there, we found a very sweet and much more agile cat who joined us on our barefoot adventure up the creek, running ahead and leaping from one bank to the next, clinging to trees and stepping gracefully around the running water, now and then stopping to wait for us to catch up.
     After the creek adventure with the cat, we made friends with another couple, a trans woman, V, and her boyfriend, Frog who offered to smoke with us and chill. we hung out with them for a few hours and helped them move their tents from the sober camp where they had set up, mistaking the sober space for an ironic joke. We finished with this task just in time for the dinner conch to blow and migrated toward the kitchen for some badass food grown right on location.
     Lucky and I turned in early for some naked cuddle time which quickly turned into sexy tent time long before the rest of the camp.  I suppose we were just impatient – had we waited an hour or two longer, we could have been having sex with everyone else in the camp.  But really, that’s no matter, even as I was writing this, somebody was fucking in the next tent over 😉
     I’m so happy to have come here.  This is my vision of the world as it ought to be – as we wish to make it.  The people here are open, helpful, hard-working, hard-loving and hard-playing.  There is a sense of authenticity in this environment.  The world outside these woods is made of plastic.