I’m not expecting 2018 to be any kind of improvement on 2017, but I won’t be sorry to see the back of 2017. I thought I’d write a list of things that happened to me in 2017, in chronological order. I had a different blog prior to this one, which I unfortunately had to delete due to being continually harassed and trolled by one particular individual and I had a stalker.
January was a shit month and was the month that I decided to stop following the news due to Trump’s election and inauguration. I was living in a Motel 6, where I’d been since the end of October, after being dejected from living with a friend at the time. I was extremely socially isolated and the only human contact I had was the once a week visit to the clinic for therapy and to see my care manager. I desperately wanted to return to the UK, but my family gave me the cold shoulder and told me they wouldn’t help me. I had to go to the US Citizenship & Immigration Service office in Buffalo that month for fingerprinting as part of the process to update my permanent resident card with my new name and gender marker.
The motel itself was pretty bad, although it could have been worse. It was clearly evident that it was being used to temporarily house people on public assistance. Weekends were particularly awful, as many guests were clearly engaging in illegal activity, such as drug use, selling drugs and prostitution. There were often police at the motel, either patrolling the hallway outside or circling around in patrol cars. I saw 2 people get arrested and I later found out that someone had been murdered a year ago in one of the nearby rooms. The area itself also felt very unsafe and I would only go out at night. I was followed a couple of times and approached by men at the nearby Walmart and Dollar store, where I’d go to buy food.
I finally left the motel at the end of February and moved into my supportive housing apartment, but the vast majority of the month was a continuation of the social isolation and loneliness I’d been experiencing for the 3 months prior. I was briefly dating a guy named Ted who I met on Tinder, who took me to an Italian restaurant on Valentine’s Day, but I suspect that he did so only out of pity. Ted seemed cool at first, but he was bipolar and I figured out that he was only talking to me during his manic phases and he didn’t trust me enough to tell me where he lived, so I pushed him away. I was also stood up by a guy called Joey, who I’d been talking to online for months and I was quite upset at that.
I was actually pretty happy to be in my new apartment as there weren’t many other residents living in that building at the time and it was very peaceful. The thing that was driving me crazy was not having internet and being unable to get it, as I was only living on cash assistance and food stamps and hadn’t yet been approved for SSD. The weather was brutally cold for much of the month and I didn’t have heating in my apartment for the first week that I was there, so I was forced to use the oven to generate enough heat to lift the room temperature to a balmy 50 degrees. As I didn’t have internet at home, I would spend my days at the clinic, using their free wifi.
April was basically a continuation of March, but with slightly less frigid weather and still no internet. I befriended a girl called Liz who was also a resident at supportive housing. She seemed cool at first, but she kept talking about triggering subjects and she told me she was bisexual and stared hitting on me,which made me extremely uncomfortable, because she’d do it with other people around. I was briefly seeing a guy named Scott who turned out to be an asshole and accused me of “faking” having PTSD because I hadn’t served in the military or seen a friend get shot, like he did.
April was the month that I finally got my legal name and gender change finalized with all agencies as I’d managed to get a court order, which I didn’t initially think that I’d need. This was a massive relief, because despite changing my name and gender in my country of origin back in January 2015, I was stuck with a male name in the United States and it was making my life unbearable.
I had a surgical procedure done in May to completely stop the production of testosterone, largely because I was afraid that I’d lose my health insurance and would no longer be able to afford hormones, blockers or progesterone. I figured that worst case scenario, if I I lost my healthcare and could no longer afford blockers, at least I wouldn’t need them anymore. The surgery was a success, although they didn’t tell me that it would lead to a temporary “surge” in testosterone in my bloodstream, which caused all sorts of unwanted and horrible effects that I literally felt up until July. I found it difficult to take care of myself after the surgery and had to go to the clinic for help twice, as I couldn’t remember or understand the instructions I was given at the hospital before they discharged me.
May was also the month that I was harassed and discriminated against by a security guard at the clinic that I go to, which is supposed to be a “safe place” for transgender and gender non-conforming people. I filed a complaint with the New York Division of Human Rights and I have a hearing next month to hopefully put the issue to rest and agree a settlement. The incident traumatized me so much that I had a meltdown and self-harmed pretty badly, but narrowly avoided being sent to psych ED.
In June, I started hanging out with a transgender girl I’d met on OK Cupid who turned out to be more of a drug dealer than a friend. She sold me LSD, which I took a few times and got completely wasted on. Like many other people I’ve met here, she also turned out to be an asshole and would criticize me for how I’d dress and the fact that I’m introverted and prefer not to broadcast my “trans-ness” like she did.\
June was the month that things really started to go downhill at supportive housing and I severed my already strained ties with Liz, after she turned out to be a racist. More residents moved into the building and many of them were what’s known as “affordables”, as in people with no mental health issues as such who were there for affordable housing. The problems intensified when I was continually disturbed by the new asshole neighbor in the apartment directly below mine engaging in domestic violence towards his girlfriend and her screams. I complained and complained,but they weren’t finally evicted until November.
I was finally approved for SSD in July, so my money struggles were essentially over. However, two of the staff at supportive housing crossed me when they took it upon themselves to tell me how to spend the money, even though I never asked for any help managing money or indicated that was one of my weaknesses.
I finally got internet in my apartment, which was a godsend as it helped ease some of my loneliness and enabled me to spend far more time in my room and away from the stress of the outside world.
I quit a GED program because I got misgendered in front of the entire class by one of the teachers and was so distraught and embarrassed that I never went back. The classroom environment was far too uncomfortable for me anyway and it felt very claustrophobic. So much for trying to better myself, because bettering myself led to me hating myself even more.
I met the most amazing girl in August, but I ended up sabotaging it and I pushed her away. I’d met her through a Reddit transgender group (she was also transgender). We talked for a couple of weeks prior to meeting in person, including a few phone conversations that lasted several hours, which was a first for me since the time when I first met my ex-wife online 14 years ago. We met in person and despite my nervousness and thinking that she’d hate me, we hit it off immediately and she treated me with love and kindness. We saw Wonder Woman at the movie theater, went to a gay club and slept together. But then doubt crept in and I felt like she was too good for me, as she truly had her shit together. Then there was the matter of the 14 year age difference (she had just turned 21) which bothered me immensely, especially as I didn’t want to be like my dad and have relationships with people much younger. In fairness, she didn’t tell me her age until later on, when I’d already developed feelings for her and it was too late to say “Ummm, let’s just be friends”. I was pretty heartbroken for having to end it, because I really liked her and unlike all of my previous partners, I can honestly say that she did nothing wrong and I would have been honored to be her girlfriend.
August was the month of my shitty birthday, which I spent alone and did not announce it to anyone. I stopped celebrating my birthday as soon as I turned 18. My SSD kicked in and I was at least able to buy the clothes that I’d been badly needing for over a year, a laptop and I started electrolysis, which I was now able to finance.
August was the month that I quit Seroquel, which caused awful withdrawal symptoms, the likes of which I’d never experienced before with any prescribed medication or street drug.
Things continued to deteriorate at supportive housing, when one resident decided to tell me that I’m going to hell for being transgender. That was just before I created this blog.
September was the month that I was befriended by a married guy who was so kind to me that I ended up developing feelings for him, which was not my intention. We spent quite a bit of time together and I met his wife a few times, although I always got stank vibes from her. Unfortunately, this friendship met the same fate as others in which I developed feelings.
I started going out a lot more in September, largely because summer finally came (as in prolonged hot sunny weather) and I wanted to be outside.
In September, I made the decision to leave supportive housing, largely because I did not find it to be a particularly ‘supportive’ environment and I lost faith in the staff after being given a guilt trip from two of them in July about my debts. The problems continued with my downstairs neighbor.
Nothing drastic happened in October, aside from my insurance company approving me for speech therapy to feminize my wretched ugly voice, which I start next week. The summer-like weather continued well into the month and I continued to force myself out more. Things were getting a little better at supportive housing, after the 2 staff members who ganged up on me about my finances ended up quitting and the staff replacing them were a lot nicer and more professional.
The organization that ran the supportive housing program that I was in wanted to push me into their independent living program, but I eventually decided that wasn’t a good idea, as I didn’t want to live alone in my own apartment with even LESS support than I was currently getting, in a city where I didn’t know anyone.
November was the month that I moved in with my friend and his wife, which ended in complete fucking disaster. I had no idea that there was anything wrong until I came home one day to find that she’d walked out on him, blaming me and the fact that my “silence” made her uncomfortable. I was told that I could stay until I was supposed to leave for the UK, but I’d have to find somewhere else to live after that.
November was the month that I was *supposed* to go back to the UK for 2 weeks to visit my mum, but my anxiety and PTSD had other ideas and I suffered a panic attack and a blackout at the departure lounge at JFK airport and missed my flight. The fucked up part is that I’d got the difficult parts of the journey out of the way, including checking in, passing the various TSA intrusive security checks and traveling across NYC with my luggage and anxiety.
I went back to my friend’s house to stay and things were going well until he told me that his wife saw me as a man, which on top of all else destroyed me and landed me in psych ED, when he called the police due to the fact that I was apparently hitting myself and unresponsive (I don’t even remember). Psych ED was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life, all 8 hours of it. They did discharge me and I returned to my supportive housing apartment.
And finally, December and the shitty holidays. While the holidays have been very difficult, I moved out of supportive housing and into the shared house which is where I’m living now with 2 other girls and 2 cats, one of whom I get along with very well as she’s low key and quite introverted like me. Things had actually improved at supportive housing when I returned from the disaster of living with my friend and his wife, but I’d already seen this place and I didn’t want to turn it down, as it was ideal in many respects.
Despite the frigid weather, I’ve been going out a lot more, which has been made possible by living in a much safer, quieter part of the city.
I had to sever ties with my male friend due to my feelings and the fact that he refused to acknowledge them. I also felt that as his goal was to get back together with his transphobic, bigoted wife, I would never be able to go over there again as I wouldn’t be able to forgive her for the way that she treated me, using me as a scapegoat for their marriage problems.
Christmas would have been awful, except that I’ve made a new connection with someone in the UK and we spoke on the phone, so she helped me a lot. The snow made it the first “white Christmas” that I’ve ever experienced, although I wish that I’d have been able to appreciate it more.