Simple Truth

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This is probably going to sound like a cryptic post. And in some ways, it kind of is. Not because I need it to be, but because I only need a simple truth. And going into all the explanations of what I mean would complicate things needlessly. So, plain and cryptic, that’s what this will be.

Sometimes an answer is so simple. Yet I build it up and pile more and more excuse and denial on top of it and eventually, it becomes this mountain that feels impossible to climb. I’ve been doing this for years. I’d made some mighty giant mountains for myself. Miles of rough terrain and steep rocky cliffs, and all along, I’d left myself this neat little tunnel right through the middle. A tunnel that, once I looked, was open and lit with shimmery lights, smooth surfaces, blossoming flowers in the most impossible places, and I’d left it all there for myself. For when I was ready.

I suspect it’s because I didn’t want those mountains. I’d only created them because the simplest truth was also the hardest to accept. It had to be this big elaborate thing. Because big elaborate things feel better sometimes than having to accept that someone didn’t love me, care for me, respect me, see me, accept me… and that those that failed me made it hard to for me to accept myself. Big elaborate things allowed excuses to mask these simple truths. Surely it couldn’t be that simple, right?

Yet the more I accepted the simple truths, the more I saw these mountains didn’t exist. And the beautiful tunnel was actually just a wide open field lush with life. I’d seen it as a tunnel because I couldn’t accept the mountains didn’t exist. With the mountains gone, there is no need for a tunnel of light.

It’s hard to explain the process I’ve been going through. I’ve had some intense weeks of personal growth lately. One day right after another. And the more these mountains have fallen away, the more I can see the simpler truth without much effort. Some of these truths have been so obvious that I have to literally shake my head for not having seen them until now. But at least I’m seeing them.

D has seen me since day one. I knew he did. I just didn’t want to admit it. Admitting that would have meant admitting that I’d hidden myself under these mountains, along with all of the truths about others I didn’t want to face either. But he saw me. Kept seeing me. And he was patient with me as I’ve slowly been digging myself out of the mountains I’d created. D is truth. What he saw and sees is truth. And that helped me see the truth as well.

Now that I’m not smothered with these heavy, dangerous mountains of lies, life is just simple. Even when it’s complex, it’s simple. Which means life is also joyous. The simpler things get, the faster answers to things that vexed me for years seem to arrive. Just boom and the answer is right in front of me. Sometimes literally as I’m walking down the street and see a giant sign that meets a need. A sign that I’d walked past before but not actually seen because I’d been so smothered with the treacherous peaks.

I’m in a really good place. I’ve been consistently growing and experiencing a different quality of life with each step. The more I grow, the better life gets. It’s beautiful. And I know that I’ve had support along the way, good, real support. It’s how I’ve been able to get to this place of such deep understanding. The more I see the simple parts of life, the purest parts, the more gratitude I carry with me all the time.

It feels so good to be accepted and truly seen. Not just by others, but by myself. The latter part was the most crucial, but also the one thing I couldn’t do until someone else saw me first. Someone I trusted completely that could hold me up until I could see myself.

Life is so beautiful.

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Kintsugi

Kintsugi – Powerful Stories of Healing Trauma releases January 1, 2019! Today’s featured author is me! 🙂

Presale links are below.

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Sienna Saint-Cyr’s erotic and romantic fiction has appeared in series like Love Slave and Sexual Expression, anthologies like Silence is Golden and Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, and her first nonfiction in Kintsugi – Powerful Stories of Healing Trauma. She writes for several websites and edits for SinCyr Publishing, an erotica company with a focus on shifting culture, one story at a time.

Along with writing, Sienna speaks at conventions, workshops, and for private gatherings on such sex-positive topics as a healthy body image, using sexuality to promote healing, enthusiastic consent, LGBTQIA, CPTSD, and navigating diverse or non-traditional relationships.

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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 My Journey, PTSD, SinCyr Publishing, Stories | Tagged , , , , , ,

Joy doesn’t mean ‘no pain’

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It’s been a while since I blogged. I’ve been quite busy and in all the right ways. I’ve also had so much personal growth, which continues to be a theme for me even after all the growth I’ve already had. I love my life. And it just keeps getting better. It feels funny in a bizarre sort of way because there are so many things I’m still struggling to find answers for or solutions to, but those are no longer the things that define me. Trauma used to, then my struggles, and now, what defines me is the joy in me. The joy I experience even on the hardest of days.

This weekend proved to me how far I’ve come. It was a great weekend with many parties and gatherings and I intentionally set out to question my own narratives and the meanings I’d ascribed to things and people. I questioned the narratives I was still clinging to and it turns out, they were bullshit narratives, just like I’d suspected them to be. They were narratives that mostly came from others that were abusive types and liars, which should have been my first clue not to listen. But I had because their abuse was louder than my own inner voice at that time. But as I cut them loose, I also began seeing those narratives as a problem. And I’ve been working years now to replace them. Some have been easier than others but this weekend, I ditched these last big problematic ones.

It’s a great thing to be filled with joy. Not the same as happiness. Joy is lasting and it rests at the base of all interactions, experiences, and day to day life tasks, everything… This joy grew out of my shift to a more positive-based thinking process, which does not include judgement about thoughts. Let me be clear…

After I wrote about positive thinking a few months back, I got some backlash with passive aggressive comments and posts about how being positive isn’t really possible or how positivity means ignoring sadness and other emotions that are hard. Which isn’t true.

The problem is that people assume negative thinking is bad and positive thinking is good. But both types can be problematic if we don’t take the time to stop and question the thought itself. What does this thought lead me to feel? How does it affect my behavior? When I’m talking about the joy I experience on a daily basis, it doesn’t mean I don’t have moments of sadness or a (now very small) moment of depression. It also doesn’t mean that I’m blind to reality and my lack of control over it.

Thinking positively during a job interview may raise my chance to get it but it certainly doesn’t guarantee me the job. In fact, it likely has very little to do with whether or not I get it. What it means, however, is that despite the job and whether or not I get it, I can still learn from the experience and I’m still living with a core of joy underneath the momentary struggle.

Our thoughts are powerful. More powerful than anything else inside us because our thoughts can cause us to be hypervigilant. They can cause us stomach aches and headaches and back or shoulder aches. Our thoughts can cause us to interpret a look someone has as a sign they don’t like us, when in reality, they may have an eyelash in their eye. Our thoughts can make us feel inferior or like an entitled ass, feeling that we deserve a promotion when we may not have earned one or… they can help us to move through the tough life experiences with humility and joy, even in the darkest of hours.

I’m not saying bad doesn’t exist or that humans should avoid unpleasant emotions, quite the opposite actually. I don’t think we should avoid any emotions but instead, question where they came from.

My internal questioning allowed me to be more open this weekend than I’ve been in my entire life. I didn’t let my thoughts drive the bus. I questioned my thoughts instead. And that is positive thinking. It’s just not the magical kind where woo woo coaches tell you to repeat x mantra 300 times and the promotion is yours (which falls into naive or esoteric thinking). It’s real positive thinking. Not the type of thinking that self-help books and new age books describe. I’m speaking about constructive thinking.

We have to think. We can’t shut that off. It is part of who we are and life requires thought. Ascribing meaning also applies to our thoughts, so being able to question our thoughts is necessary. We must look for evidence. And this weekend, the evidence I found was what I needed to let go of the broken narratives and lies I’d believed.

I felt pain this weekend. Each time I let go of a negative belief or thought, I felt pain. Yet at the bottom of all of it, I was still filled with joy the entire time. It was a beautiful weekend. I’m so grateful for all those I got to spend time with and all the broken beliefs I allowed to float away.

Posted in Lifestyle, My Journey, PTSD | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kissing Girls

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Tonight I saw this tweet about the Macy’s day parade and two girls kissing and how that broke the innocence of the kids watching. At first, I was pretty disgusted and ready to rage tweet to @foramerica about their bigotry and sexism. Their hatred is the same patriarchal bullshit that kept me from admitting I was into women. It’s taken me to 40 to admit just how queer I am and to finally feel comfortable (and proud) of that. So I was ready to take this jerk on and give this person a piece of my mind.

Funny thing though, when I got there, there were already 26k tweets and most were defending the kiss. There were comments on inclusion, on parents being blindsided by trump’s talk of grabbing pussy, tweets saying that children’s innocence is shattered when they have to do active shooter drills every couple of months starting at the age of five, and then there were these below:

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Out of every fifty or so tweets, there was someone having a freak out session and going on about being forced to accept homosexuality—which, btw, is totally a sign you’re in the closet, just sayin!—but aside from that, everyone was supportive and inclusive. I decided I didn’t need to go to the mattresses. Everyone else had already done that. It felt good. I felt validated and like I mattered. I thought about my teen self and how I’d have felt if I’d seen so many people jump to the defense of those being attacked over who they loved. I thought about how that might have helped me not hate myself and feel like I was living a lie for much of my life.

I also saw a friend post that queer people exist, and putting them in the media is accurate, not an agenda. Pushing that hetero ways are the ‘true and right’ ways is an agenda, however. Her post got me thinking as well…

I’ve never once told someone they needed to like the same sex/gender, the opposite sex/gender, or anything of the like. I’ve only told people to love who they love and to enjoy who they are. But heterosexuality has been pushed on me my entire life. It’s in everything. Not only were words like lesbo and dyke used to shame me but on top of that were the constant pushings about finding a husband and having kids and yada yada yada.

Heterosexuality is even pushed in sex ed. It’s only recently that sex education has started to include types of sex that are not heteronormative and solely about intercourse. Even marriage wasn’t possible until recently.

This is the shit that makes coming out so hard. I was fortunate because I’d mostly experienced secondary attractions to people. That meant that I could grow attractions to men and put off that I was hetero for much of my life. For a long time, this was super convenient. But I always knew this was a lie. And the more I lived that lie, however misguided I’d been in doing so, the more I hated myself. I had been in a losing battle much of my life, which meant that what once seemed fortunate ended up being unfortunate.

Today, I also listened to NPR’s interview with Denice Frohman about her coming out. She brought up so many things that resonated with me. I’d never really thought about why there needed to be a ‘coming out’. Why it was such a big deal. But I understand now and seeing this tweet today solidified things she said. I don’t want to ruin it for folks, so I suggest listening to the podcast instead if you have interest. But suffice it to say, her story meant a great deal to me and helped me process how I felt about the tweet today. And all the other shit that has piled up on top of me as people have pushed me into being who they thought I should be.

It’s time I turned the tables on folks pushing their hetero agenda on me. Because let’s face it, that’s what’s really been happening. Projection is real and from now on, I call it out. Loudly.

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

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

Posted in My Journey

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 that 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 (like the trauma responses I’d developed) is resilient. My PTSD was my resilience. This means that things like hypervigilance, alcoholism, smoking, paranoia, even some larger mental struggles, can serve as 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 methods 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 , , , , , ,