Hello! I’ve been watching Dexters Laboratory lately, so I thought I’d post a video of me building a robot –
Kinda weird, thoughtful, potentially triggering post today, bear with me.
I wasn’t really building a robot, but computers are kinda like boring robots, not the depressing Robin Williams or fun Bender robots. This is one of many PC’s I’ve built for myself and others, my brother and I built our first PC from thrift store parts and duct tape when I was 12, it was like putting together Legos but if you fit these pieces together correctly it turned into even more awesome games and building tools. Visual Basic on a 33mhz compaq felt like my first step into wizardry school, I was programming at a very young age and wanted to make video games or do special effects in movies. I loved computers, outside was scary, computers were safe and something I could do when much of the world was making me believe I wasn’t worth anything.
Aaaaaand then I was in 8th grade gym class, getting undressed in the locker room. I was tiny, maybe 5ft and 125 lbs (I’m 5’7” and 120 now) and I had tiny little breasts, I remember the doctor telling me that 1 in 10 boys get them. They weren’t like my sensitive, lovely breasts now, they were just little bits of extra fatness my classmates called… ahem… “bitch tits”. I was understandably self-conscious about them and never really took off my shirt, I was awkward. I had just started puberty and was feeling very dysphoric, though I didn’t understand gender/transitions or anything like that back then, I was pretty homophobic. This is one of the times in my life where someone took advantage of my vulnerability, while changing my clothes in the locker room a bully (a hulking beast who transferred to this school after breaking the jaw of a kid at his last school) picked me up and took me outside in my underwear and embarrassed the hell out of me. My entire class was laughing at me, the bully was swinging me around and accidentally let go causing me to fall down the locker room stairs. I broke both of my wrists at once. I ran away crying, everyone still laughing, I told my teacher that I hurt myself, he told me “that sounds like a personal problem”. I sat in the PE office until they finally sent me to the main office, I couldn’t stop crying and was being treated as a wimp and crybaby, not as a programmer who just lost their tools.
I broke the growth plate on my right hand and fractured the radius on the left. I had to wear two casts, my brother had to help shower me, I couldn’t use computers, make a sandwich, masturbate, button my shirt, do anything. The teacher called it horseplay and gave the kid 3 days suspension. We pressed charges, the principle wouldn’t let a cop onto the school grounds. I spent the rest of 8th grade under the shadow of this monster, we eventually got a lawyer but nothing really came from it, we were poor and my mom worked 2 jobs, my stepfather too drunk to make any proper phone calls. He played guitar well and was popular for it, I was made fun of for crying and for being “limp wristed”, he still had all his friends. I had unhealthy fantasies about hurting him, an extended family member had killed themselves recently at a very young age, I felt inspired. I felt like the world was this big scary forest filled with Chucky dolls and yelling and crying and fear, My brain reacted, I stopped believing in eternity because I was afraid to *feel* forever, heaven was as scary as hell, dysphoria and bad memories and the overwhelming sense of betrayal i’d felt from the world made me want it all to go off like a light switch. That moment changed everything, the end of a chapter, the end of a childhood that never really was.
Out of the broken dismay of sad, helpless mess grew me, and I can maybe not feel sad about it. There was no one thing that made me feel better, no inspiration or action or book that made me pull myself up from this agony and start doing something positive. If was forced to extrovert, I had started doing a bit of acting in 8th grade, started to focus on that. I plagiarized a stand-up comedy set (mostly from Jim Breuer) and was a hit at the school talent show, I played tiny tim in the christmas play and wrote my own speech, I started getting recognized for positive things. I was never confident before, I started to feel like I was worth something, like maybe I could make something of myself.
I hadn’t forgotten what I knew about computers, I just couldn’t crank out code or chat on IRC like I once could. I used my knowledge to fix the computers around the neighborhood, we were always moving so I had plenty of new clients. I got connected with a local magazine and fixed all of the computers in their office, they wrote an article about me as “the next bill gates”, its funny to look back at that these days. I couldn’t “do”, so I taught the old folks and soccer moms how to use computers at reasonable rates, before the Geek Squad thing started. I learned there was such a thing as social engineering, I was making good money, basically failing out of a school system that did nothing to protect me, I eventually graduated high school with a 1.9 GPA yet still spoke at graduation. I continued with my consultation company and still occasionally build PC’s for other folks. I speak to type (which still isn’t perfect) and I’ve since broken my left wrist again, I can’t do data entry or program and haven’t kept up on the latest trends, but I still love computer science and tinkering with hardware.
There’s no fairytale ending really, though looking around my nursery right now it does kinda feel like I grew up to be a princess… I needed to get some off this stuff off my back, but there’s also a purpose for me telling this story – Where would I be if I wouldn’t have had my wrists broken? Would I have had the strength to transition? Would I be writing a blog about my life, my crinkles and my struggles? Would I have gone the path of my sibling, become an engineer, get married, have a kid, play Starcraft? Would I have had the determination to endure the slings and arrows from society, from my stepfather or from the college professor that loved me at such a young age, would that weight have crushed me? Would I have learned empathy, or would I be an asshole? Would I sit around wondering what would have been?
My life has been tough, so much loss, so much fear, so many hangovers and regrets… and hand in hand with that is the wanderlust of it all, I’ve seen so much, been so comfy and warm, I have so many friends and lovers and ideas and stuff that keeps me going. Again I come back to what is essentially the theme of this site, you can overcome whatever bad things people have done to you. You can change your path, you can get over the hurt and find something new. It’s not your fault, or their fault, people do stupid things for stupid reasons, we learn and move on. It may not be what you’ve always wanted or imagined, it’s your life to lead somewhere you want. I grabbed the world by the tits and haven’t let go. I’ve been using friends, walls and substances to deal with some of the more fragile bits of my psyche, I just started seeing a therapist and I’m feeling positive about that. My journey is still happening, I’m sure i’m going to be sad again, things will hurt so much that I have to shut my eyes and grit my teeth. Someday I may be so proud that I cry, so happy I purr, so melancholy I stay in bed, I’m not sure whats ahead… Lao Tzu said “a good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving” and though I have plans and intentions I will embrace whatever new doors open. I may not be a computer programmer or college graduate or a well constructed mint-condition Riley, but life has dropped me here and I’m done looking back for now, time to move on ❤
On the topic of moving on, I’ve built myself a new computer, and did a timelapse on my new camera. I got some good deals on NewEgg for black friday, lots of new stuff coming out soon with my lovely new tools. More pics and stuffs soooooooon, this is going to be a very crinkly christmas for StayDiapered.com