TW: DEATH, SUICIDE, MENTAL ILLNESS

just a warning, this is probably going to be a little rambling. i haven't thought out what i want to write, so it's really going to be more like a collection of thoughts around the topic.

i think about death like... kind of a lot. probably too much. i've had a few extremely traumatic events in my life that contributed heavily to that, but death anxiety is something i've dealt with for my whole life. i'm afraid of dying probably more than a lot of people, and i'm even more afraid of the people i love dying.

when i was a kid, internet piracy was a different landscape entirely. the most popular way to download anything was through a peer-to-peer service called limewire, a spiritual successor to napster. you could download anything, from anyone. obviously, this meant it was rife with viruses. it was also rife with shock content. what i downloaded was labeled as the episode of inuyasha i was looking for, and what i got was the video of budd dwyer's suicide by self-inflicted gunshot. i was nine or ten, and i was appropriately horrified. unfortunately, it also unlocked a kind of morbid curiosity in me. when i downloaded something and it turned out to be something else, i didn't immediately close it and move on with my life. i would watch. i saw tons of accidental deaths; the one that sticks out most to me was an airline employee getting sucked into the jet of an airplane and turning into a pink mist in an instant. that person had no idea that they were about to die, barely had any time to react. this grim interest, very unfortunately, afflicted a lot of people my age and did serious harm to our mental health. i'm not proud of it, but i was a child with unrestricted access to a very different internet than we know now.

that said, i became all too aware of the infinite gruesome ways a life could end. complete accidents that no one could see coming, car wrecks, suicides, murders. the interest in seeing that kind of thing faded a long, long time ago, but the fear that it instilled did not. over the years, i've thought countless times about what could happen to me, to my loved ones. when i think of death, i don't think of a peaceful passing at an old age, surrounded by loved ones. i think about the worst case scenario.

my godfather, san, lived with my family. in the time that he lived with us, he was more of a dad to me than my own father (who, admittedly, was dealing with a lot of his own shit.) he took care of me, taught me all kinds of things, and loved me like i was his own kid. he moved in with us in 2003, when i was nine. he lived with us until 2011. he was an extremely intelligent, very capable man who worked with his hands constantly. he was always building things, writing recipes, sketching, playing video games with me. in 2009 he developed tremors that only got worse as time progressed. his handwriting deteriorated, he couldn't solder or cut. he was terrified of having ms, because he watched his grandfather's slow and tragic decline.

i went with him to the doctor in 2010. he did not tell me what they said. that same year, my parents separated and my mother moved to be with her family in texas. i stayed because my school and friends were in oklahoma. san stayed for me. in december of that year, i decided to visit my mother for christmas and the new year. the day that i left, though, i hesitated. san's tremors had gotten significantly worse, he had lost weight, and he looked sick. i was scared to leave him. i went anyway. it was a good holiday. i hadn't seen my mom or my grandmother in a while, and even though she didn't have much money, we still had a really nice celebration. on january 2nd, 2011, my mother and i went to the grocery store to get some snacks. we were going to laze around and watch tv and play video games. in the parking lot, she got a phone call from my dad. i will never in my life forget the absolute horror in her face as he told her that san had killed himself in our home. i'll never forget the soul-shattering agony, the screaming and crying we did in that car. there is no other emotion like it. i won't go through all the details of what came after; it's not the point of this story, and it wouldn't do me or you any good. the point is that for the first time in my life, death had made a concrete and devastating impact on me.

i have done a lot of healing since then. i have accepted his death, accepted that it wasn't my fault. but what i haven't been able to shake after all these years is the fear that someone i love will suddenly, violently be ripped out of my life. the fear that i'll get that phone call. the fear that i'd had all my life was suddenly validated and made much, much worse.

by 2019, i had repaired my relationship with my dad. over the years, we had started spending time together. i'd go over to his house often, listen to him play guitar, talk about politics and music. we were close. the last time i went to his apartment, he played his guitar but with difficulty. he said he was having some numbness in his hands, and that he would be going to the doctor on monday. i was obviously very worried. he'd had a stroke before, and more than one heart attack. as i left, i told him i loved him and that i'd call him on monday. but i was 25, self absorbed, and busy. i forgot to call. i have never stopped regretting that.

on that tuesday, i got a message from my aunt. he did have a stroke, a severe one. he was at the hospital near my apartment, and i sped over there as fast as i could. the doctors informed us that the prognosis was grim. that night, i cried myself to sleep. my heart was broken again. my dad was, like san, highly intelligent and creative. the following days, once he regained consciousness, seeing his speech and personality stripped from him, were unbelievably painful. i didn't go a day without crying, and i didn't go a day without going to the hospital. i stayed by his side and held his hand. he went through so much: a tracheostomy, a feeding tube, hospital dementia, more and more as the days went by. his recovery was dragged out over an agonizing four months. in july of that year, he had been moved to a skilled nursing facility. i remember begging, "if there is a god, please let me have one last cogent conversation with my father." the last time i visited him, i got just that. he was completely lucid, knew who i was and where he was, what had happened to him. he told me how much he loved me. the next day, i got the phone call. it again came from my aunt. a nurse had found my dad on the floor, his heart stopped. it just gave out. they resusciated him and rushed him to the nearest hospital, and again i made the drive in tears, this time with my wife at my side. only my aunt and i were allowed into the room.

by the time i got there, his brain activity had already stopped. his glassed over eyes are burned into my memory. i held his hand and wept and told him that i was sorry i hadn't been a better son, that i couldn't do anything for him while the machines keeping him alive beeped louder than anything i'd ever heard. when his heart stopped again, my aunt grabbed my face, tears in her eyes, and asked me what to do. all around us, the medical staff rushed around to get the paddles ready, but i knew he was already gone. i made the decision to let what was left of my father die. i don't really remember anything after that. i know i saw my family in the lobby. i know i drove myself home. everything else is a blur.

again, the cold hand of death had taken from me. this time, it wasn't sudden. it was miserably protracted, dragging on and keeping me eternally on edge, eternally heartbroken. when it finally ended, i was trapped between relief and unbelievable grief.

last year, my mother-in-law had a minimally invasive brain surgery using state of the art technology to treat an aneurysm. all of us were terrified, knowing that something could go wrong. nothing did. it went phenomenally well, and she was out of the hospital that day. she had two aneurysms, though, and the next surgery to treat the second one was absolutely standard. nothing scary, nothing dangerous, it was one that is performed routinely and almost entirely without risk. she, again, would have left the hospital that day.

there was a mistake. the anaestheseologist misheard the doctor and administered a ridiculously low amount of anaesthetic and blood thinners. upon performing the surgery, platelets collected around the aneurysm immediately, and she suffered severe brain damage. for a month, she was in a coma. every day, we were given new information. we had high hope for her recovery. doctors did as much they possibly could. though she wasn't conscious, her body suffered terribly. it was awful to watch. then she had a stroke. in her final brain scan, it was revealed that there was little to no brain activity occurring at all. my father-in-law had to make that same enormous, terrible decision. he made the decision to let her die.

the whole family gathered to watch her take her last breath. there were tears, screams, prayers. it wasn't right. it wasn't fair. she wasn't supposed to die. it was just... an accident. and again, my fear was reinforced.

i spend too much time terrified that something will happen to my mom, or my wife, or my friends, or even me. i'm so scared, all the time, of being blindsided by death again. i know it's not healthy, but the only impactful deaths in my life have been tremendously traumatic ones. that is my experience of death. that's why i cannot picture the idealized, serene passing for me or for anyone. to me, it does not exist.

i stopped being religious when i was about eight or nine. i was never a particularly strong believer anyway, and i couldn't tell you the exact moment i decided there was no god. i don't say this to be an edgelord or anything, it's just that because of this, i have absolutely zero concrete belief about what happens after death. i don't know if we go to some magical afterlife, if we get reincarnated, if we just stop existing. i am more afraid of dying than i really care to admit because of this. i wish i had some belief, anything at all that would ease that fear. even believing firmly that we just go into nothingness would be okay. it's the uncertainty that terrifies me. i don't know where san, or my dad, or my mother-in-law went. i don't know what they're experiencing, if anything at all.

i do think it's the idea of nothingness that scares me the most, though. i literally can't fathom what not existing is like. no brain activity, no heartbeat, no senses. how can that be? how do we experience nothingness? i cannot wrap my mind around it. my mom once said, "did you experience anything before you were born? no. it's just like that." but how? i barely even have the words to articulate the way this concept confounds me. and maybe that just means i'm stupid, but it scares me.

i don't really know what the point of this was. to vent? to try and make some sense of my fears? i don't know. i don't have a thoughtful conclusion to this post, or anything insightful to say. what it boils down to is that i am terrified of death in all its forms, and i don't know what to do. if you read this, thanks and i'm sorry.

TW: DISCUSSION OF SURGERY

so, i had my consultation for top surgery. it went really well, my surgeon is a cool dude. it was weird having a guy professionally honk my bobos, but that was nothing compared to the excitement i felt at the possibility of finally being comfortable in my body. the fishmouth incision is what they'll be doing. he said that his happiest clients are the ones who didn't keep their nipples and just get them tattooed on after, so i've decided i'm going to go that route. i initially wanted to keep them, but apparently you have to keep the tissue beneath them to keep them from going necrotic, and i want to be as flat as possible. it'd only be about a week for recovery and i wouldn't have to have drains, so that's pretty sick.

the price they quoted me was $6155, which is about $5k less than the last place i had a consultation with. unfortunately they don't do payment plans though, so i'm still still at square one. i'm excited, but i'm also not excited. i mean, i'm excited because it seems more possible than it did before, but it's still such a far away thing that it's like, not real? if that makes sense. i only have $20 in savings and we have a lot of credit card debt to pay down. i was kind of thinking of starting a gofundme, but those never really work out. it would be great if some anonymous benefactor could just throw $6k at me, lmao.

so yeah, it went well but it's still a "someday" thing. regardless, i'm happy i went. i don't know how to end this post, lmao, bye.

TW: DISCUSSION OF AMERICAN POLITICS AND THE ISRAELI GENOCIDE AGAINST GAZA

i'm so fucking sickened by this country. our infrastructure is falling apart, our people are barely making enough to get by, and somehow this administration is prioritizing aiding an unthinkable genocide. i don't even know what to say anymore. there's nothing that hasn't been said. the actions of a terrorist organization do not warrant the coldblooded murder of thousands of innocent civilians, the destruction of schools and churches and hospitals, and anyone with half a brain understands that. all i can say is that if you can, strike. if you can't, do whatever you can to aid palestinians. one thing i can recommend is the purchase of eSims, which you can do through an app called simly.io. instructions for how to get it to people who need it are below.


somehow, against all odds, i have turned thirty. i'm officially Old Online.

my birthday was yesterday. mads and i went to oklahoma city on wednesday night, stayed in an airbnb, and spent the day in the city. it was really nice! we had breakfat at all about cha, a really good korean cafe, went to a couple of cool shops in the gay district, got some cute stickers and snacks at the huge asian market and delicious drinks at another one. we also stopped at half price books (i picked up the aenid and the illiad bc i've never read either, and mads got the sun also rises) and the container store. my god, i would live in the container store if i could. we got a bunch of stuff to organize our desk area for when i open my etsy shop. we got back in to tulsa at around 8:30 and just hung out for the rest of the night. it was really peaceful, which i think both of us needed.

today i slept in AND took a nap because apparently i have no self control, but we did get a lot done on the house. for dinner we went to india palace with our best friend. it's literally always so good, absolutely the best indian food in town. after that, they took me to the mall and spit a pair of doc marten loafers for me. i've never had a brand new pair, so i'm not looking forward to breaking them in, but they look great and i'm happy to have em.

all in all, it's been a really nice couple of days. it's definitely made me feel less weird about being thirty. i've had a lot of thoughts and emotions wrapped up in that, especially because i never thought i would make it this far in the first place. but i'm happy, and i'm happy to be here. :)

content warning: gender dysphoria, body dysmorphia

my dysphoria has been unbelievably bad lately. i go through phases with it; sometimes i'm uncomfortable but can manage, sometimes i'm devastated. i've been looking at grants for top surgery but they make you jump through so many hoops, and i know there are other, less fortunate people who need it more than i do. but god, it's really kicking my ass. i cried the other day because i saw a picture of someone with top surgery scars. someone calling me "ma'am" at work sent me into a two day long depression. i don't really know what to do. i can't just wear my binder 24/7.

on top of that, i've gained twenty-five pounds in the last year and a half. it's really, really distressing. i've always been pretty skinny, and i'm having to force myself to adjust to this new body. at what i currently weigh, i'm still small, and i would never in my life think to criticize anyone else for weighing what i do. it's like i'm only fatphobic to myself. i'm only transphobic to myself. i would rather eat glass than tell someone they're "too fat" or would never be a "real" man, but when it's me, i think those things. i'm really having a hard time not being extraordinarily critical of myself. the antidepressant i'm on is definitely working, at least better than the one i just switched from. i think it's really just a lifetime of self-deprecation forming awful mental health habits. i'm trying to use the coping skills i've picked up in the time i've been alive, but it's really, really hard right now. i wish i could just flip a switch and wake up in the body i want.

my code for this blog is an absolute disaster, i know for a fact there has to be a cleaner way to have set this up.

anyway, i said i was gonna post pictures, so here are some pictures. 👍

i was right in my thinking that this whole trip was going to be exhausting, but my god it was so fun. skinny puppy was amazing, i got to meet paul barker (who i didn't even know was opening for them!!!), i got to have an incredible three days in toronto with my best friends, and now i'm finally home. i just hate that i have to go to work tomorrow, lmao. but i do feel refreshed and like i got a good break. i'll post pictures maybe tomorrow? but for now i'm going to smoke a bowl and go the fuck to sleep.

in the thralls of what could have been a manic episode, mads and i bought tickets to a skinny puppy show. we also bought tickets to toronto. we've been saving for a while (and not for anything specific,) so we're not doing anything financially risky, but it still feels wild that we just decided last-minute to take a three day trip out of the country. it worked out really well though bc both the concert tickets and the hotel room let me use afterpay, and i got the tickets way in advance so they were already paid off by the time we booked the hotel room. and our friends are picking us up when we land, so we don't have to worry about crashing anywhere.

it's going to be a rough 24 hours though bc we're:

  • ✦ driving 4 hours for to the show
  • ✦ getting dinner
  • ✦ checking into the hotel
  • ✦ going to the show
  • ✦ going back to the hotel and going immediately to sleep
  • ✦ waking up at 6 am to be on the road by 7 am
  • ✦ driving 4 hours back home
  • ✦ stopping at the apartment
  • ✦ getting our travel stuff
  • ✦ rushing to the airport
  • ✦ getting on a flight
  • ✦ huge layover (that's why it was cheap lmao)
  • ✦ getting to toronto at 11 pm
  • ✦ ubering to friends' place
  • ✦ getting up early to pack in everything we want to do
  • ✦ generally hanging out for three days
  • ✦ flying back home, getting in around midnight
  • ✦ going to work the next day

i'm gonna be fucking exhausted but it's so worth it. we both miss page and lewis, and mads definitely needs a good break w/how hard they've been working.