Freshman year was as bad as any freshman year, smaller fish in a bigger pond. Family fought constantly, I was grounded due to grades most of the time, started getting big into clubs, and by sophomore year ran most of the nerdier clubs like Drama, Speech and Debate, and Computer club, and created a few of my own, like Anime club and Film club, and eventually a school Jedi Counsel. I liked the clubs because I was less likely to get something thrown at me in a class room, and I was very popular amongst the unpopular. I worked at Taco Bell until I eventually got a job in the city working at an Independent Theatre/Concert Venue, where I stayed for close to 6 years, taking other jobs, but always picking up shifts at the theatre. It’s more of a home than anywhere in this world to me, the employees like family.
At the time started dating a handsome college professor with a striking British accent, from here on referred to as “The Dr”, a nickname I somewhat sarcastically gave him due to his doctorate in Leisure Studies. I was 14, he was a mentor in the eyes of my parents, but the difference was semantics. At 39, he would have made love to me the moment we met if I didn’t come with a prison sentence attached, and I might have happily accepted. He was the first person that really saw me as I wanted to be seen, and he was the only one I could tell about my feminine desires. When I was 16, we would occasionally travel to LA or San Francisco and I would dress as his daughter, it was a freedom that I treasured and still look back to as my “girlhood”, he took me to shows and film premieres, he exposed me to lots of new things, including Rilo Kiley. We were in love.
And then it got bad. My parental units made a complete 180 and basically banned me from him. He started getting more and more physical with me, and my near-failing grades became more and more worrisome. My mom and stepdad got divorced but still lived together and my brother moved on to college. The family became even more volatile, and I moved in with the Dr. before I finished high-school, and our relationship started to get rocky, we were both immature and wouldn’t admit it, and he wanted to be a part of everything I did, I had very little privacy and the expectations of a physical relationship became stronger on his end. I was more depressed than I had ever been, cut myself more than I ever did living with my family and felt really alone, exploited, suicidal and wrong in my body. This is when I really started thinking about transitioning, I felt ugly and awkward, one day I’d think I’d be a girl for the rest of my life, and the next I’d feel like a horrible pervert.
I became very good at showing faux happiness school, my Senior year I was a social butterfly. I had a cool downtown job, everyone knew me from the Jedi Battles I arranged at lunch and my various other antics, coming to school dressed as a catholic priest , spider-man with silly string shooters and even once a school cheerleader, which I got my ass-kicked for but was totally worth it. I hadn’t come out to anyone yet, and how much I really liked “dressing up” was a secret known only to me, the Dr. and one very close friend. I was Homecoming King and the only student graduation speaker my senior year, the PC consultation business I started in 2002 was doing well and my life was heading in the right direction. The Dr. and I broke up, it was ugly, hurtful and my heart was broken, but I look back and and I’m glad that I’m not with him, forever is a word that only young lovers use.
I moved into a punk rock house in the heart of downtown with some friends from work, life was a constant influx of bands from around the world, crazy house parties and shows, plus my first introduction to drugs and alcohol. I was completely sober through High-School other than the occasional sneak from my stepdads boxwine, all I had understood about them was from Half-Baked or Requiem for a Dream, and the “Drugs are Bad M’kay” assemblies at school . I was always told that abstinence was the way to go but there was nothing wrong with sex, what was I to expect from drugs, as long as I was safe? Before you start thinking I’m a bad girl, I’ve never done anything with a needle, no arrests, OD’s or STDs, and remember, this is just a recap of my life… not how I am now, no regrets and my brain still works as good as it ever has. I started RandomActs, a series of monthly guerilla-style street concerts that ran for almost 3 years until Sacramento PD finally shut us down for good. This was my golden age, I went to Beijing and NYC for a week each, I felt like I could do anything I wanted, I was working at Tower Records as well as fixing computers and was pretty much a girl all the time, everyone was my friend and I felt like art was coming out of every pore in my body.