Tag Archives: transcribing

proud that she got us here

graffiti from Gay Youth Galway -- Big rainbow "OUT" with the words "No to homophobic bullying!"Happy Friday! Here where I am, it’s blue & green outside the windows, sunshine pushing into everything, lettuces quietly growing like gangbusters, puppy curled in a fed-n-satisfied-n-sleepy ball. The carpet is in desperate need of vacuuming, and the puppy toys are gathered up and tossed on top of the fire box. What’s it look like where you are?

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Just spent about 25 or 30 minutes typing more of that first journal entry from 1993, and am paying attention to what happens in my body as I do so. I got very cold, and my fingers would go from being able to type quickly & accurately to slipping and stumbling all over the place. But this entry is from right after I broke contact, or rather, right at the beginning. He called me constantly, trying to get me back ‘in.’ It’s hard to just type the words, just be with that voice, that 21-year-old self, who is still stuck in the perpetrator’s language, trying to argue her way out of his boxes with his words and persuasions, still thinking that if she’s able to do so well enough, he’ll let her off the hook. I want to respond to her, clarify as I’m typing, say it out loud: that was all bullshit, Jen! You didn’t have to think that way!

Of course I know it now. The blessing of all these journals is that I get to see, again, when I started to shift in my thinking, when I began to get free in my head. This entry is the beginning of that. It was one of the first times I’d written down (and not destroyed, or sent to him) what he was doing to me, and that it wasn’t ok with me). This entry is a revolution, quietly sitting there in black ink in an unlined Artists Sketch Book. I am proud of us, of then-Jen and me, now, for doing it, for both taking the steps and writing about them. She got me started. I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing now without her. As hard as it is to read her words, and how she/we/I thought then, that ever-present tangle of cognitive dissonance, I won’t change them. They’re ours.

I’m grateful for this record, for the opportunity to be, again, with that voice, that self, this written memory.

I’m going to take a long shower after I post this, and leave more transcribing for another day. It’s heavy work, that reading & typing, moving those words through my body again, from paper to eyes to brain to nerve impulse to fingers: I want to take good care of me as I do this. Take the transcribing in small bites, drink lots of water, stretch, play with the dog, wash it through & clean.

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It’s Pride weekend here in SF.

Today’s the Trans March— are you gonna be there?

Tomorrow’s the Dyke March, and Sunday’s the big Pride festival (which I wish were still called the Gay Freedom Day Parade — I like that so much better).

Have fun, if you’re going to be partying, and stay safe, ok? You deserve it! Keep an eye on your friends, watch one another’s backs — let’s act like we matter, like it matters that we’re safe.

So much going on, for so many of us — and lots of folks still feel overwhelmed, left out, deep loss and shame.

What does pride mean for you? Maybe let that be your write this morning — and you don’t have to be queer-identified to write about Pride, of course! I don’t just mean pride as big gay celebration, but pride as a concept related to your whole self. What does it mean to feel pride? What about yourself/your work/your relationships/your communities brings you pride? What would bring you pride if it were manifested? Take 15 minutes (set a timer), settle in with your notebook and coffee, and dive in. If you’re going out into queer community this weekend, what do you hope for with respect to pride? Let it all down onto the page. “Pride is…” or “I’m/She’s/He’s/Ze’s/We’re proud of…”

I’m proud of you, of him & her, of all of us. I’m proud of how high we fly, how we stay grounded, too, even through all the voices that tell us Never & You Can’t & Forget about it. I’m grateful for how you remember and fly anyway. I’m grateful for your words.

old stories, new readings

stencil graffiti of pink unicorn!

I like that I searched for 'graffiti strength,' and this was one of the results...

Good morning!

I want to tell you about the fog this morning, how the top layer glowed pink in the rising sun, how it seemed to be surrounding us, me & the pup, hugging the shoulders of all the mountains but somehow not covering us. The foghorns have been a thick accompaniment all night, watching over us, watching over something. We walked up the hill, through the trees, by all the morning birds, past the field swallow with her iridescent wings, feeding her babies under the eaves of the neighbor woman’s house, the house with the enormous garden that reminds me of my mother’s garden every single day. The cool is a balm this morning. It’s amazing how quickly we acclimate.

No deer today, but I did find a tiny hawk’s feather, stuck in the grass up by the old church. I picked it up, carried it in the hand that I use to carry Sophie’s treats. It felt like a treat for me, something to pay attention to.

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a quick prompt this morning: give me the view from your kitchen window. If you don’t have a kitchen window, write what you’d like to see if you had one, or give me a window from another place you (or your character) have lived. This is about scene-setting, about landscape, about location. 10 minutes — and include one person, even if you can’t see them as you’re writing.

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I have had a project I wanted to begin for years, that of transcribing material from all of my journals. I started journaling with intent in 1993, right before I broke contact with my mother & stepfather after telling my stepfather I wouldn’t ‘have sex’ with him anymore. I was 21. He and my mother cut me off, financially & emotionally, shunning me from the family, because I was making ‘fear choices.’

I want to get back into this record I’ve created of the transformations of the last 18 years, and am wondering about including bits and pieces here.

The first one I’ve got this morning is from 1993, beginning 11/26. On the inside cover I wrote, ‘Memories for Survival & Living…” I can’t remember if this is before or after I withdrew from school. Maybe there’ll be a record. I couldn’t afford to pay for it anymore. I ended up withdrawing halfway through my senior, and it took me me nearly three years to finish the last two quarters.

Here’s the first couple of pages (a bit of explicit talk about sexual abuse — please be easy with you):

I just bought this book today & I want to fill it with memories of my second father — or maybe with memories of fathers in general — I don’t know what it means to live with a father who is ‘normal.’ Maybe that’s for the best — maybe that’s shaped who I am. That’s certain — I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if I hadn’t had the experiences I’ve had. I have all kinds of self-confidence now, but what about my self-respect? I have none… I have no ability to stand up for who I am and who I want to be.

He has, too many times, talked me out of my concerns and fears and talked me out of saying, ‘No. I’m uncomfortable here.’ He’s told me that I’m just scared, giving in to what Neal wanted me to do, giving into boyfriends, just being resistant or problematic. He has asked me to forget/reconstruct the past with regards to him … but not with regards to Neal. he was the first to point out to me times when I was giving Neal a break in my own mind. He has asked me to have his child, to fuck my own children, to lie to my mother and sister and other lovers and to myself. He tells me to be true to myself, and then he tells me to pie to myself — to reconstruct my own history so that I can be happier with it — perhaps so he can be happier with itis there any question why I feel like I’m going crazy?

(Note: Neal is my biological Dad, the man I refer to as Dad now — at the time, my stepfather was Dad, and my Dad was Neal.)

This morning I have compassion for that girl, that 21-year old sitting in a New Hampshire cafe, hiding from the room with the telephone ringing constantly, the man on the other end trying endlessly to hold on to his control over her. And I’m grateful to her — she got us here. She started us on this road. She made an incredible choice. She stepped away.

Thanks for the ways you’re compassionate with all the layers of your old selves, for the ways you recognize the power of their choices, even if you’d make a different choice now. Thank you for your resilience, your generosity, your words.