Orycon 40 Schedule

My Speakers Sessions

Saturday, November 10

1:00pm

6:00pm

8:00pm

9:00pm

My Moderators Sessions

Saturday, November 10

7:00pm

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Resilience

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Sometimes I want to say a lot but I can’t bring the words to my lips. So I sit here, staring at the wall in silence. I’ve tried to put my thoughts down here but three lines in, I stop and delete what I wrote. What I need to say feels too big and so tiny at the same time. I think this is why I keep deleting and rewriting. It’s because the moment I get into a topic of sharing, I suddenly become aware that everything circles back to one topic — resilience.

This is an area I’ll eventually open a call for under my press, just not quite yet. But resilience is something that I used to hate. The word, not the meaning. And it’s because when I first got into my psych classes, we were being taught that the reason some people don’t get PTSD (even when in the same circumstance) is because they’re resilient. In my mind, this translated into ‘they’re strong and I’m weak’. But this wasn’t correct. I knew it wasn’t at that time too, but I didn’t really understand why I felt that way.

Now, I’m deeper into my actual school program (not the pre-req classes like intro to psych) and we’re taking resilience in a very different direction. Resilience isn’t being looked at as ‘if you get PTSD you’re not resilient’, it’s being looked at as anyone that develops a coping mechanism is resilient. It means that things like hypervigilance, alcoholism, smoking, paranoia, even some fuller mental illnesses, they are coping mechanisms just as much as running and writing and the other options that are looked at as being the ‘good’ kinds of resilience. Yet, all of these coping skills show resilience. They show a will to live. To survive. And when we put judgment on the ones that can lead to further unhealthiness, then we’re not seeing that people taking part in these other types of coping are resilient. Some may have PTSD, some may not, but that’s beside the point.

Any habit, even ones deemed good, can turn bad when overdone. Running can turn into permanent knee damage, eating healthy can turn into an eating disorder where the person isn’t getting enough nutrition, and these can be just as damaging as a person leaning on cigarettes to get them through. The key isn’t to judge our methods of coping, it’s to recognize that they are there to get us through hard times and that they aren’t meant to be a permanent solution. For some, they may need to feel numb, others may need an adrenalin rush, something/anything to make them feel alive. This comes from an inherent desire to live, not the opposite. And some of us will need more help than others to break away from these coping mechanisms when we’re ready and/or able, and that’s okay too. Some folks resilience/coping mechanisms may affect us negatively, and that’s when it’s good to have healthy boundaries, but this still doesn’t mean that others’ coping skills are about us. Just like their projection and assumptions and judgments aren’t about us.

This was the trap I found myself in today. It’s why this post changed like tenish something times before I realized what I wanted and needed to say. I was focusing on others judging me because they have and continue to, and I can usually look at them and know that their judgment is about them, not me, but today–for the first time–I also realized this is a type of resilience for them. When we project, or deflect, it can be about narcissism…or…it can be about self-preservation. It can be another form of developed resilience. Even narcissism (depending on the level I suspect) can be about resilience. Because resilience isn’t about doing the right thing, it’s about staying alive. This isn’t something to put judgment to, just a thing that is. By understanding this, it helps me pull back from feeling judged, even when I’m clearly and blatantly being judged, and helps me ask myself ‘why does this person need this behavior in order to survive’?

I can look at a woman now–attacking me for my sex-positivity–and see that she must be surrounded by people that shame her or oppress her and that her attacking me is a type of survival for her. It’s a part of her resilience.

I’m sharing this because I feel this is something we all need to take a look at. If we can’t understand that judgment is a type of resilience, then we won’t know to ask ourselves why we feel threatened or the need to survive. And if we never address those things, then our resilience may become a behavior that is an oppressing and abusive force to others. We need to understand what resilience is and how it can look like a negative when it’s really about staying alive. Only then can we actually address the issues driving us.

So much of what I do now is pulling back judgment. It’s something we discuss daily in my field of study. The words, ‘we’re not talking judgment here, just the facts’ are spoken daily to remind us that a user is not a ‘junkie’, they are a human being that needed to be numb or mellow or happy and that drug was their survival at the moment. This doesn’t mean our choices won’t eventually kill us, but it does mean that we are using these coping mechanisms so that we don’t give up. Otherwise, a user would have just overdosed.

I don’t think anyone will argue in favor of long-term habits that are bad for us just because they are part of our coping strategy. But if we don’t see those things as a resilence, then it’s far easier for those ‘in the moment’ strategies to become long-term and much harder to break habits.

Even with this long explanation of my thoughts and where I’m at, I’ve still not done this concept justice. It’s so big and so small at the same time. All I ask is that those reading this think about what resilience means. How do people find these coping skills and how might those same skills translate into healing, growth, and positive change? How can our own coping skills and resiliency serve as a clue to let us know what needs changing in our own lives?

Posted in My Journey, PTSD | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Do Better – A Letter For Cis Women

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I’m sharing this with permission from the author–though anonymously–to get this message heard. These are justified, angry words from a trans woman. They need us cis women to hear this, internalize it, and do better. Especially right now.

This was a post on social media that I’ve cut and paste for the sake of sharing here.


Just got called “this man over here” by a young cis woman, while I’m wearing my pink skirt and top, presumably because I have a receding hairline and haven’t shaved today.

If you are a cis woman, I need you to understand that you are privileged beyond belief, and that I and many other trans women have experienced more direct violence from cisgender women than we have from men.

And men are typically just as violent towards us as toward you.

And I have seen NO evidence that any of you truly realize that, let alone what it means.

You all act so fucking high and mighty, as if only you know what it’s like to be female in this world, and I am DONE with that fucking bullshit.

It’s just another day in the fucking worthless life of a trans girl. It’ll happen again and again until Trump’s goons come to get me.

I may be ranting more here as the night goes on. I’m not going to pull punches, and I’m not going to hold hands.

I’m going to continue to use “you” to refer to all cis women. And if you’re a cis woman I expect you to take the same advice about taking that personally that you expect of men.

Before I go on, I want to get a few things out of the way, because what follows is gonna hurt:

I am alive because of a few cis women. Those handful of cis women and a couple of trans people have been the only people in my life who have been there in my darkest hours, right at the moments when I would not have survived, and gave me substantial help. Both emotional and bureaucratic. Cis women have been the ONLY people on my medical team who have consistently and tirelessly gone to bat for me for.

And they were able to do that because they had the privilege to be able to graduate from
medical school and open practice.

And, you all experience a few things that I, and most trans women and girls will never get to experience. Like unwanted pregnancies. But those are double edged swords for both of us. You usually get the privilege of being able to get pregnant if you want to, while we don’t. We have that robbed from us during our own fetal development.

And usually many of you experience a degree of daily catcalling that I personally have yet to encounter. But other trans women get the joy of that, and some cis women don’t experience it. And those of you who don’t, you feel ugly because of it.

Well, guess how I feel…

But you’re stuck in a middle ground. You get harassed and assaulted and belittled and psychologically tortured by cisgender men your whole lives. So you’re all dealing with this crushing trauma, and it’s hard to control.

And along comes these other women, or people of even more marginalized genders, non-binary people, who you’ve mistaken for men until they come out and say, “hey, I’m not a man, and you’ve been hurting me, and I need you to stop.” And that’s gotta be scary and weird and hard to adjust to.

You’re not used to following your own damn directives regarding privilege and listening. But on top of that, your trauma is screaming at you to not trust us. To shut us out. Keep us at a distance. Force us away. Shut us down, so we can’t take away what little power you feel you have being what you all erroneously call “the most oppressed gender on the planet”.

You don’t think you call yourselves that? Pay attention to your own fucking propaganda on Women’s Day for god damn once.

I don’t envy that position, at once being abused and also the abuser.

But, guess what, I’m white. I gotta own that shit when it comes to things like race, myself. As do many of you. Us white women have a lot of our own words we gotta eat. And fast, if we want to survive what’s happening in the world today.

And like, I don’t get any of the trappings that cis women get that usually give your lives purpose. I’ve earned less than most of you, those of you who are also white anyway. I don’t get to have children. I’m divorced because I’m trans. I don’t have my own family or home to keep. And I’m unemployed, with no career in sight.

And my prospects for gaining those things in my lifetime are close to nill.

Yes, there are other trans women who have these things, but statistically, we’re much less likely to.

But that’s just setting the stage. Letting you know where we stand.

So, what happens to us trans girls and AMAB embies is that cis boys and men beat the fuck out of us starting in kindergarten. If we’re not out yet by then, they sense we’re different, see our femininity or queerness showing through, and follow through with their patriarchal programming and physically attack us for it. Relentlessly.

And we get sexually assaulted, too. Some of us raped. Some killed. And while our suicide rates aren’t as high as that of AFAB trans folk, it’s fucking hell, and it takes a psychological and physical toll on us, leaving us with higher rates of cPTSD, PTSD, depression, and anxiety that you generally experience.

So, driven away from the boys, we follow our instincts, our own directives according to our actual genders in the case of us trans girls, and try turning to you. You who SHOULD be our people.

In a class of a couple hundred students, there’s only likely to be 2 of us. We need more peers than that.

But when we turn to cis women and girls for solidarity, you fucking attack us.

If we’re not out yet, you tell us to go away because we’re “boys” or “men” and “will never understand you.” If we object and plea for even an ear, you tell us to shut up and listen to you. Often, you fucking sick your boyfriends on us to beat us up some more.

I spent my late teens through 39 fucking nine years old being yelled at by cis women for not owning my “male privilege”. Ridiculed, called out, belittled, cajoled, insulted, told I must have a small dick (which I did, because I’m intersex) since I couldn’t take a hint.

And I listened, and contorted myself into owning that privilege that wasn’t mine, and put you above and ahead of me. And suffered in my career and social life because of it, because when a queer trans person who is mistaken for a man fails to act like the worst example of a cis man, we get shut out even faster than cis women do. We don’t make it.

I say, “I want to die because my hips will never be wider than my waist.”

And you all respond with, “I hate my wide hips.” or “Some cis women have narrow hips.”

FUUUUUUUCK YOOOOOOOU!!!

I say, “I have to shave my face every day, and even though I do it constantly feels like sandpaper and gives me sickening dysphoria and I get misgendered regularly for it.”

And you all say, “Lots of women have to shave.”

FUUUUUUUUUCK YOOOOOOOOOU!!!!

Anything we have to say about our struggles and fears, you god damn minimize it. You ignore the fucking context, tell us off, and then turn your god damn backs.

You never invite us to girls’ nights out, or anything else you do with other women, unless it’s a protest for ill named “women’s” rights. In which case, you all god damn say, “come support us!” Like we’re some lowly fucking allies.

FUUUUUUUUUUUCK YOOOOOOOU!!!

When we do, on the rare occasions, get to join you in gatherings of other women, you don’t treat us like peers. You turn your shoulders away from us. You talk amongst yourselves about your children and your husbands. Or your jobs. And you never ask us any questions to bring us into the conversation.

Unless it’s time to talk about trans stuff.

Fucking gross.

You shut us out, ostracized us, quietly disinclude us, forget about us, shun us, treat us like children (which is how you treat men, by the way), treat us like perverts, or oddities, and you change the subject when we’re talking.

You pull every god damn trick of schoolyard social bullying and layer it on thick over techniques you use to abuse your own children, and top it off with the kinds of retaliation you wish you could give to cis men and get away with it.

And it’s non-stop, and it never ends.

And while some of you are great, and lifesavers, even those of you who are like that still perpetuate all of this in little ways. You slip up, while your peers attack us mercilessly with the death of a million slights.

You hope you never do this?

Too bad. You do.

Stop telling us you mean well.

Stop asking us to tell you when you screw up.

There are too many times in which you do and, when we do tell you, you fucking go on the defensive and argue with us, and it gets worse.

Just do better.

And make your cis peers do better, too.

MAKE THEM.

And you gotta pull yourselves together FUCKING FAST, because fascism is riding in fast and we’re right in its target sites this week. And when it starts killing more than black, indigenous, and Hispanic people for just being on the street, we’re so few and rare we’ll be gone before you know it.

I need you all to read this. All of it.

Internalize it.

And take it to your family, your work, your schools, your stitch ‘n bitches, to the fucking DMV, and smack your cisters upside the face with it.

Because none of us can count on the cis white men to do anything of the sort. They’re too busy getting ready to kill us all and enslave you.

What is SUPER infuriating is that so far 27 out of 30 people who have reacted to this post are trans. Only 10 of you, at the time of this comment are presumably cisgender.

The vast majority of my cis female friends have unfollowed me at this point, because they can’t stand to have me on their feed for some reason or other (admittedly, I post a hell of a lot, but this disparity between cis and trans people reacting to this post is fucking damning).

The people whom I need to read this rant the most are the ones who will never see it. They’ve already shunned me.

So, if you have any mutuals with me who are cisgender, make sure they see this post, PLEASE.

Posted in My Journey | Tagged , , , , , ,

Power of Thought

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For many sexual abuse survivors, these times have been trying. I’ve hardly been able to get on social media. I could get into all the reasons why they are specifically hard for me right now but that wouldn’t help anything. So instead, I’m going to talk about a positive realization that’s come out of all of this abuse-ridden mess.

I’d recently posted about negative thinking and where that leads me—to depression. But what I hadn’t yet figured out is where those negative thoughts come from. Why do I think them? It’s one thing to recognize them and another to understand why I go there in the first place. Because of all the constant bombardment of sex-offenders in positions of power, I’ve been diving into some deeply negative thought patterns again.

As always, I use my tools to pull out of them. But I also noticed something interesting…

The specific negative thoughts I’m thinking change depending on the stimulus. The fact they change not only caught my attention but then I began to ask myself, “Why these specific thoughts?” If they were all the same—like I’m useless, worthless, a loser—and so forth, then I’d not have noticed. But as they change, I began to look at what my body wanted to do at that moment. What I came to is that my negative thinking is tied to my flight response.

I’m not under any direct threat. A perceived one maybe, but not direct. The truth is, I don’t know how the recent changes to the Supreme Court will affect me. Or anyone. I can only speculate based on past behaviors of others. But speculation takes our power. Fear takes our power. So the last thing I want is to be full of fear over something I cannot control.

It’s that fear that kicks in my flight response.

But I don’t need to run away any more than I need to entertain negative thoughts. There’s no need. Past trauma doesn’t get to define me. I define me in the present. And now that I understand where my negative thinking comes from, it makes it that much easier to recognize it and address it before it takes control.

Today, I took the next step and talked about all these things. Plus so much more. Things I’ve not been able to talk about before. I felt myself trying to check out, but I didn’t. There was no need to. I wanted to talk about the things I was talking about. However hard it felt, I did it. And at the end of the day, all of it was just feelings. Nothing real in the here and now, only feelings from past events that my body was reacting to. Which meant I could address my need to flee and realize that it wasn’t necessary. Talking took the power of the negative thoughts away.

I’m sharing because I think many of us get so caught up in our thoughts that we don’t realize where those thoughts are taking us. They acted like a safety mechanism at one point, but now the thoughts themselves are the threat. They are the things causing us to feel more pain, fear, anxiety…and they aren’t needed. When there’s a real threat, we won’t be stopping to contemplate negative thoughts. We’ll be in the actual act of fighting or fleeing.

If we’re going to give our thoughts power, better that we do so to the constructive thoughts. The ones that tell us we’re worthy, we’re beautiful, we’re powerful, that we can make change by being that change… Thoughts that urge us to be present, like understanding that I’m sitting at my giant, lovely desk right now, writing this.

I’m okay with giving my thoughts power as long as they are thoughts that make life better. Anything less, I’m no longer willing to entertain. There is too much life to live and I want to spend as much as possible in the moment.

Posted in My Journey, PTSD | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Words of Others

I’ve tried to write today and I can’t. There is too much online and everywhere I look that is crushing me. I’m dealing, taking time away from it, but I needed some things to inspire me to stay positive. So, I found some quotes that gave me what I needed. I’ll share them below.

Take care of yourselves. These are trying times.

walk softly and carry a big stick quote Awesome Photographs 118 best Sacred Feminine images on Pinteresttyrion-quotes7_820malalainspirational-mother-daughter-quotes-7imagesimagesimages-1Empress-wallpaper-wp5803102BrenEacute-Brown-Quotesactress1-copy76e109a099860525228f0bfec7a4011d--hey-girl-meme-girl-memes3d6a9ee92742b2ed8c97423270fb5327--glinda-the-good-witch-wicked-witch2_44

 

Posted in My Journey, PTSD

The big 40

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Yesterday I had my 40th birthday. Good people came to see me, cooked me food, drank wine, and it was a glorious day. But I’ve also been depressed. I realized yesterday morning that part of the disconnect I’ve been feeling lately is that I never thought I’d make it to my 40th birthday. And not because I thought I’d spontaneously die. I’ve just always been so suicidal that I never thought I’d last this long. This last week has been confusing and hard.

I’ve also been helping a family member and there’s been a lot of witnessing pain during our time together. It’s good, but also emotionally draining. Which does add to the rough week.

The recent weeks have also brought a lot of revelation of bad habits (seems they always pop up, blasted things) and I’ve been working to change them. These habits are fierce though. They have not been easy to break. I’m nowhere even close to breaking them. My recognition of these habits has helped me see how often I focus on the negative. I’m a glass half empty sort of person. A thousand things can be going great and I’ll focus, hypervigilantly, on the one thing not going great.

While changing a habit like negative thinking seemed easy­­—after all, I only need to know why I focus on the negative and then I can change it, right? (wrong…)—it’s not easy at all. The more I try to focus on positive things and fill myself with gratitude, the more I circle back to even darker and deeply negative thoughts. It doesn’t make sense.

I’ve been ridiculously depressed lately. This isn’t something I’ve had to deal with in a long time. Like almost two years at this point. Occasionally, yes, but not steady like this. I’ve always tied my negative thinking to the fact that I was depressed. It was the only thing that made sense to me. And people seem to back that up. But tonight, as I was sitting at my laptop completely failing to write what I’d intended to, the thought ‘why do I always focus on the negative’ kept circling my thoughts. So I googled it. And I found something interesting.

I don’t know if there is any merit to it, but I found a website talking about how depression doesn’t lead to negative thinking… Instead, negative thinking leads to depression.

Say WHAT?

The author went on to say that negative thinking is a result of trauma. It’s part of the fight or flight response. Since it’s part of that process, that means the body will tire out and feel drained when that rush or ‘flee’ passes. What comes in place is depression.

Because depression is about disconnection, it means that we can take a break from feeling. Depression is often described as being full of apathy. Nothing matters, you don’t care about anything, not even if you live or die sometimes. This process is designed to give the body the relief it needs.

The reason this author said it is successful—though not ultimately helpful in the long run—is that negative thinking is also tied to fear. It’s a fear-based response. Depression shuts off a great deal of fear by filling us with apathy. To overcome depression, we must overcome our fear-based thinking that caused the focus on the negative. Since negative thinking originally comes from looking for danger, it’s hypervigilance.

Some signs of negative thinking are judgment (not discernment, that’s different), complaining about all that’s going wrong in your life, perfectionism, self-doubt, feeling sorry for yourself, but then there are other aspects that I didn’t realize were negative thinking. Like worry for others. Or feeling sorry for others. When we do that, we’re still putting judgment on their experience.

Negative thinking is also contagious it seems. Once one of us goes down that path, those around us can easily jump on the negative train. Misery loves company, no?

It’s important to stop this cycle at the onset.

Recently, I’d been allowing feelings to surface that I’d long suppressed, and what came with it was the negative thinking and then depression. This isn’t to say that all depression comes from this, but after reading, I know mine does. I have no chemical imbalances in my body. Mine is mental—thought related—and I’ve known it for a long time.

Now that I know, some of the suggestions I’d read were to let things go, to get rid of toxic people, focus on solutions, set better boundaries with others and the self, use the word ‘yet’ and stop using ‘but’, and so on.

My suspicion is that this is partly what makes trauma so difficult to heal. Especially if we’ve been raised in a household that focuses on the negative, lives by a false reality, or the never-ending ‘one day, I’ll be thin’ or ‘one day, I’ll move here’ or ‘one day, I’ll be rich’ but without ever taking the steps to make these things happen. So children get indoctrinated into this negative, no action, ‘one day things will get magically better and I never have to do the work to get there’ thinking and when that adds to trauma, it becomes this horrible cycle that is difficult to get off of.

Somehow, though, I think this understanding is going to help me.

A few days ago, I wrote D and told him I knew what needed to happen with these things I’m still working on. My solution was simple, to change them. To take action. I didn’t and don’t expect myself to get it overnight. Self-compassion is so crucial when trying to learn to new ways of thinking and new behaviors. And sometimes to take action, we have to revisit trauma and that can start us on that negative thinking cycle again. But the more knowledge I have, the more I understand that this cycle isn’t a wheel. It’s a linear cycle and that means it has an end.

This has been a strange day full of emotion, but also realization. For me, my negative thinking causes my depression. And this is the place I’ve felt at home and safe most of my life. Of course feeling happy and thinking positive is going to feel uncomfortable at first, but I’ll get there.

In the past two days, so many people have told me that their forties were amazing. That I’m in for good days ahead because at forty, we finally get over ourselves and stop caring about a lot of shit that doesn’t matter. We often gain a confidence in our ‘lack of fucks to give’ that helps us find the joy we’ve been missing out on. And you know, I think they’re right. This next year alone is going to be amazing. I’m coming out with some phenomenal books with my press, for myself as an author under other presses, I’m even going to travel outside of the country (I’ve only ever been to Canada before), I’m starting the UW this week, and these are only the things I’m aware of now. So that’s where I’m starting. I’ve got a lot of wonderful things in my future and happening even now. They are a great place to focus on the positive.

My 40’s are going to be great.

Posted in My Journey, PTSD | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kintsugi Reviews

Hello all!

Kintsugi has a release date! January 1, 2019! If you are interested in doing a review, please let me know via submissions@sincyrpublishing.com so I can send along an ARC (efiles only).

Presale links: https://www.books2read.com/u/4NGpx8

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41956919-kintsugi—powerful-stories-of-healing-trauma

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Description:

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of using gold (and other precious metals) to repair broken pottery. The ritual is complex, intentional, and contemplative. Upon completion, the once-broken vessels are made whole. They are stronger and possess a different type of beauty than before.

Kintsugi is the perfect metaphor for healing trauma.

Healing is multifarious. Not only does it require effort on the part of the survivor, but also those around them. The most effective healing takes place when there is a network of support. One where others can listen, witness pain, and hold space for the survivor.

This collection is designed to highlight the varying approaches to healing and to honor our individual needs along the way. Some authors are taking their first steps in these pages, while others share their successes in reclaiming their bodies, confidence, sexuality, and joy. Each story is unique – sometimes straightforward, but often counterintuitive (because if healing were simple or straightforward it would surely be easier).

Kintsugi is not for the faint of heart.

 

Posted in SinCyr Publishing, Stories | Tagged , , , , , ,