But I don’t care, even if I was a fool.

I’ve got something with muscles or nerves or I-don’t-know-what fucked up enough that my left arm has been mostly numb all day, with some tingling in my fingers and a spot on my thumb that’s been hurting like hell on and off. My neck and right shoulder have been hurting some too, and I know from experience that someone with 15 minutes or less who’s even barely skilled with bodywork of any sort could remedy the issue.

In the same way as many other things about my life, though, I intentionally ignore my recognition of “this is a serious problem!” because I have no directly accessible remedy. This place has fleas and bedbugs and ants and probably still roaches, but fixing that means coordinating with roommates and landlord, taking significant steps to prepare just my room and depending on both roommates to take equivalent steps, pushing the landlord to address the problem, to even acknowledge the problem instead of dismissing it offhand or making yet another excuse… so instead I know that I’ll be bitten by insects, that any food I leave unsealed will be unusable, and I check my clothes and other things carefully before leaving the house and add diatomaceous earth to the bottom of containers, I only open what I can eat in the moment, and I expect much of what food I have or am given to go to waste.

I have significant concerns and questions to address with a health care professional, things that should have been looked at — and treated — long ago.  Living with things isn’t fun or easy, but trying to make sure I call a doctor during their limited “business hours” is difficult when those hours are during the small part of the day that I’m either sleeping or trying to get a few things done at home… or, more often, simply avoiding this place and going out to kill time and keep my sanity.  It’s after 3 in the morning as I write this, and I have plans for tomorrow that will take most of my day. I’m hoping to still get a few hours of sleep between now and when I have to be up and out the door — if I could call and schedule an appointment between 11pm and 5am, I’d have an appointment. “That’s when everyone is supposed to be asleep,” I’m told, so naturally there’s nobody answering phones at the doctor’s office!  So I just ignore major medical concerns unless or until they keep me from functioning at all.

Did I say something about hoping to get some sleep? Huh, guess I did. That was pretty stupid, really, because I know full well that there will be enough noise here until almost 7am to keep that from happening. As I type, my roommate is hacking up her lungs — I’m not sure whether that’s because she’s awake and smoking pot or awake and still dealing with being really sick (which I only discovered accidentally, that she’s been sick for quite a while) because the sound is the same. If the schedule goes like usual, by 4 or 4:30 there’ll be lots of sex, by quarter to 5 the guys upstairs will be up and stomping around and hollering like apes, by 6:30 if not before the teenage boys next door will be running up and down the stairs and screaming at each other, and traffic outside will pick up considerably.  I need to open my window and get some air and chill in this room, which I hate doing because it takes away even the small amount of sound isolation to the street.

Maybe I’ll get lucky and fall asleep anyway. Sometimes I just drive myself to stay awake far beyond “tired” and way past “exhausted” to “I’m going to fall down now, hopefully it’s on my bed.” I have a pretty damn long endurance, though, one I’ve developed as a coping skill, so I frequently have to do things that are against my immediate best interests in order to actually achieve those interests mid-term. It’s an ugly dance, one I’d rather leave behind.

And the strangest things seem suddenly routine.

I’m lying here in bed, starting to type this blog post, and stopping every once in a while to check out one of the photos rotating through as a slideshow for my desktop background — all of them involve nude women in some form or another, and the current set is artistic and “classy” nudes — much of it certainly pornographic, but not “sex! sex! sex!” type stuff.

I’m thinking about the fact that I make clear distinctions between types of pictures with nude women in sexual contexts, and smiling.  I spent some of this evening preparing to attend and participate in events for December 17th as the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, and I’m looking forward to meeting up with my boyfriend there.

I have a boyfriend! I’m a lesbian, I’m transgender, I’m kinky and queer and ethically non-monogamous, spiritual but not religious, and I have my own personal worship and ritual if I choose to indulge myself in it.

I’m listening to my roommate fucking quite loudly in the next room with her current boy-toy, the most recent in a long string of boys, men, lovers and fuck-buddies, and my reaction at the moment is mild annoyance — but at least it sounds as if they’re just going for a quickie before sleeping. I hope so.

I’m a feminist, and an aspiring social activist, with some very clear ideas about where I stand on many different issues.  I’ve been keeping an eye on Planned Parenthood and the attacks against them, reading up on the latest from the EFF and Bruce Schneier, following a ton of queer, sex-positive, BDSM-friendly, and feminist blogs, looking for good quality porn that depicts the kinds of things I like, adding my name to form letters to elected officials when there’s an issue that grabs my attention, and sharing what I can on Facebook and Twitter with the hope that others will see and support the same causes if they feel strongly.

And then I look back 3 years, and I shake my head and laugh, just as my eyes widen in amazement — because it wasn’t all that long ago that I wrote my very first blog post (on MySpace back then) under a fake profile and an assumed name.  It wasn’t all that long ago that I’d never seen another naked body in person, was still hiding from my parents the fact that I was masturbating regularly, and not too long even before then that I was trying to “give up the sinful habit” completely.  It wasn’t all that long ago that I was a boy — a rather fat one, too, at 250 pounds!

3 years ago I would have cringed if someone brought up prostitution, because back then I thought hookers were dirty, evil creatures, the lowest of the worthless invisible people.  Actually, knowing the group I spent time with, I probably would have made a horribly insensitive joke about the difference between “theft of goods” and “payment for services.”  Back then I would have said plenty of hateful things and thought they were hilarious, because that’s what I was surrounded by.  Lots of young, heterosexual, cisgendered, white males whose idea of a punchline could just as easily be “That’s what she said!” as it could be a one-line rape joke.

Today if someone mentions prostitution or other sex work, and I hear the echoes of what I once thought — and if there’s a comment that comes from misinformation, general application of old, broken stereotypes, or a chance to teach someone, I step in. I call people on their hateful and ignorant comments when I can.  I listen when someone calls me on something, because I want to learn and I especially want to learn from those who really know.

It’s delightful sometimes, to “look back on where I’m from, look at the woman I’ve become…” and to enjoy how beautifully routine some of these once-strange things have become!

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