Hey there again, pull up a chair and i’ll fill you in.
This post is about a favorite topic David Bowie and I share, changes
This post is about a favorite topic David Bowie and I share, changes
I’ve found myself in an entirely new place, a new climate, and in many ways a new way of life. If you’ve been following my site you know that I was born and raised in Northern California, I’ve been as far as Beijing, I’ve flown around the world, I’ve seen back rooms in mexico, driven through a tree in the redwoods, been engulfed in the stench of NYC and seen the leaves change in New England. An old friend told me just today, that NorCal will always be my home, and someday I’ll return to the “old country”, and I didn’t disagree. My friends and family are there and I have some responsibilities that will require me to return temporarily now and then, but for now NorCal is behind me, merely a mix of great and sad memories.
If I wrote a movie about that town, it would be the blackest of comedies, a low-rent “Less Than Zero“, a true version of “Million Little Pieces” all with the strength and confidence Hedwig. I’ve been mugged, beat up, I’ve slept on the streets, I have had some pretty brutal times. I can’t step out of a car without someone recognizing me, I still would run into folks who knew me by my christian name. I was Homecoming King in High School, not as popular as I was well known. I’ve been called queen of the townies, a lifer in “sactown“, I know the town like the back of my hand, from working at Tower Records to being a barista at the towns finest coffee establishments. My face is well known and though I’ve been expressing myself as a woman for the last 5 years, there were scruffy days and folks that remember me from before my “coming out”. Even outside of my hometown, in the bay area and surroundings the faces and places are the same, the west coast has been my playground and it’s time to grow up. You don’t have to be Harry Benjamin to understand that ones transition can go smoother in a place where you don’t have those constant reminders of your boyhood.
Drugs got me down, after high school I found myself in the downtown art scene, which (obviously) was hand in hand in the downtown drug scene. Rock shows and Pabst were my life, I was always filming, always active, always on the streets, always hustling towards the next show, the next project, the next endeavor. I felt so cool, my life was a movie, I was meeting tons of folks and experiencing thing that I never imagined, I started giving ends to my friends and it felt stupendous. I lived this life for a long time, highs and lows, adventures and tragedies. I’ve always worked 40 hours a week at an office or coffee shop, bar or venue, and spent the rest of my time on the streets and much less time sleeping. I’ve spent enough of this blog reiterating those old times, later on I stopped all the really bad stuff, but still maintained a bit of a cigarette/alcohol problem, which in my experience are the most destructive and addictive of all the drugs I’ve done, and I’ve done them all… twice.
I’ve been missing my highschool glory, I was totally sober back then and was really blossoming creatively, but the stress of my homelife and not being able to express myself in a manner that showed my true self frustrated me, I looked for something new. The warm embrace of a raging party welcomed me into a world that I wasn’t allowed to experience in high school, probably for the best, I was pretty much failing out to begin with. I had lost faith in the system at a very early age, and the underground welcomed me with open arms. I could blame my drunken, chainsmoking stepfather or depression or the people around me for my “decline”, but it wasn’t all bad, and i’d rather just move on.
Riley’s big adventures aren’t even close to over, this one might even be the biggest so far. I have many fun, amazing times ahead of me, I’m just sober enough to remember them. I’ve been a really good girl since I stepped on that plane, I can look back to those times and not focus on what I was taking, but on what I was doing, the experiences I was having. Sobriety is really easy if you really want it, and I’ve finally gotten to the point where I really want it. I didn’t come here for rehab, I came here to find a new place, and that’s a great time to leave those things behind. I love cold weather and the snow here is really magical. I’m in a place with all 4 seasons, compared to norcals 2, hot and cold. I’d love to see what Canada has to offer, Toronto has always been a destination for me, it seems like a great place to make film. This part of the country has more big cities you can easily travel to, NYC is more my vibe than LA and it’s just a train ride away, as is Boston, one of my favorite cities on the planet. No one in a 1000 mile radius knows my legal name, the friends i’m staying with are kind and supportive, and the other folks I’ve met have been pretty friendly too. I plan to get in with the local trans-groups and start kicking ass for civil rights.
New York State is a fresh start, no crazy coffee shop owners or old lovers, no bad memories, just a chance to create new ones. I miss parts of the west coast, but I won’t let that hold me back, i’m going to see what this place holds. My next step? Writing, filming, getting in contact with transgroups here and eventually across the border. I want to visit my friend and fellow blogger in Brooklyn, I’m barely off the plane, so I might even get a little bit of rest. A decision has been made in my Unemployment case, I should know within the next few days, but I’m 99% sure I won. Even when I get conformation that I did win, it will likely be late February before I get anything from it. I could care less about the money at this point, I just want a clean employment record and my old employer to get their comeuppance. I’ve already applied for a couple part-time jobs around here and my awesome resume and even more awesomer (?) confidence will surely land me something to occupy the time that i’m not in front of a camera or spilling out my soul on this little corner of the internet.
Clarity is wonderful, I’m warm and happy and looking forward to a busy year. I feel great, life is precious and amazing and I’ve been taking my hormones everyday, for the first time I really feel like I’m on the right path, I’ve been planning this for a while and it turned out better than I expected. My old struggles have been overcome and I welcome the new ones, I can tackle anything that comes my way. Hormones are my new adventure, living 100% as a woman, it’s going to be awesome. My friends are supportive and caring, and i’m looking forward to the new people i’m bound to meet. Bowie and I may agree on many points, but I won’t look back in anger, just look forward to my bright future… I never thought i’d see anything brighter than the California sun until I saw light reflect off the snow.
Here’s to reflection and moving forward ❤
more words soon…