(this section contains semi-chewed thoughts and life things with hopefully more frequent updates than the journal section.)

date words
monday, november 1st, 2023
oml we made it to november. i feel like this year has gone by so fast. today, i saw a new primary care doctor and asked for help. i filled out that lil depression questionnaire and asked about starting antidepressants. apparently i have moderate to severe depression. lovely. however, following this appointment, i've had a number of realizations.

i realized that i don't think i've ever been truly honest with myself when filling out those lil questionnaires before. i used to think there was just something wrong with me, something i was doing wrong and if i just tried harder my brain would be happy, i would feel fulfilled and happy and normal like everyone else. i also used to think that this was just how it would always be (kinda contrary to the above, i know). that this was my normal and it would remain this way forever. that there was no reason for concern because i was able to function within society well enough - i am good at my job, i show up for friends, i do the grocery shopping and pay the bills. can a depressed person do THAT!? i think not! and so it would not make sense for me to make any big deal of these thoughts and feelings that exist alongside all of that.

i realized that i have come really fucking far compared to where i was this time last year in understanding my own mental health and worth. i was half-considering therapy last year (but you know, do i reallyyy need that (~internal scoff~)? i got a slight nudge from a friend to seriously consider it. and damn that has been a gift that keeps on giving. therapy is really cool and awesome. i am still processing things, still relearning and reframing the internal narratives, still trying to figure out wtf i am doing. but i am so glad that i started that process. that fact that i even CONSIDERED let alone went through with asking a doctor about antidepressants is a HUGE deal. i am recognizing what is happening in my brain and body. i am honoring its weight and impact. i am ASKING FOR FUCKING HELP!???? GO MEEEE!!! UGH!! i am so incredibly proud of how far i have come this past year. my mental health is DEFINITELY in the shitter right now LOL BUT the internal change is palpable. i am doing the thing!!

and now with all of this knowledge and power, i feel this release of weight from my chest. my fucking god i might actually be able to fix my brain chemicals and feel better. i can finally feel okay. yes, there will still be sadness and loneliness and grief and all of the feelings that come with being human, but i might not get as stuck. i will be able to find that internal peace, i just know it. oog. here's to antidepressants! (lol i sure hope they work ^>^)
friday, october 27th, 2023
i think i am entering a new chapter in my life o>o. yesterday, i filed the paperwork to legally change my name, and today, i got my court hearing date for 7 weeks from now. i am left with this sweet release and feeling of peacing drifting into my future. since parting ways with my family in february, i have felt unsettled, still anchored to them in intangible ways, still fearful of being found or having an unwanted confrontation. the imprint of their looming presence dragging behind me as i search for the healing and closure i've yearned for all my life. but today, as i look at that court date and i look at MY name. a name that feels like home, a name that connects me to my birth country, and a name with no ties to my adoptive family. my name. i am filled with this peace that can only be described as being able to give my younger-self a warm hug. i have done all of this for them, for me, for future me. the inner demons and those from the past rest heavy on my chest every day. but i remind myself to continue forward so that i can bring us the joy and peace and love and all of the squishy things that felt so far away for so long.
sunday, august 20th, 2023
joy can be found at a 7-eleven, 3am picking out ice cream, dubious macaroons, ramen.

joy can be found as music reverberates through your bones, sticky skin, leaking pipes.

joy can be found in late night conversations, car parked at the curb, finally at home.

joy is a slippery and fickle thing dancing before your eyes, lingering memory, hold on to it.
sunday, august 13th, 2023
miscellaneous thoughts from this weekend:

the world is indeed so beautiful - i find its beauty in the mushrooms growing in my neighbor's yard, pink trains running under a bridge, conversations with strangers trying to make sense of society and its people, frequenting a local farmers market, garlic cheese bread, and potentially meteors or maybe just a trick of the light.

support your local farmers market!! we are indeed individual people against a big ole system and we can't change things alone or immediately. BUT we can put our money where our mouths are. by buying from a farmers market, you can decrease the number of hands passed from you to farmers and farm workers. our food system is fucked as it is, but if i can decrease the number of hands my money passes through, i take solace in knowing that i have at least tried to make an effort towards putting my spending power towards a better, decentralized food system and away from the hands of large scale food distributors. farmers markets are, however, known to be inaccessible, being significantly more expensive than your average grocery store. BUT if you are a recipient of food stamps, your local farmers market may have EBT market match - a system where your city/county/state government matches the amount of money you put in to increase your spending power! example: if i spend $15 at a farmers market, the local government may match that $15 to give me a total of $30 to spend at the market that day. farmers markets are still expensive even with the match, BUT if you are able to find the room in your budget, it is definitely something to look into! hunger action la is the organization that is involved in market match for farmers markets in los angeles. they do super neat work!!! by taking advantage of this program, you tell your local government that this is a program you are interested in, AND increase the changes that funding is continued and potentially increased in the future.

i was recently introduced to the idea of radical municipalism as a social power movement, aiming to decentralize government, prioritize direct democracy and civic participation, and form a solidarity economy. these concepts were thrown at me in a small steamy warehouse-like art-gallery-turned anarchist bookfair. in the moment, my brain was slightly blown - like DAMN these are indeed some radical ideas with incredibly lofty goals of reshaping the social/political/economic landscape of los angeles. and it was really cool! it is inspiring to hear from people doing the work and passionate about the work. ~but~ at the same time...there was something about everything that was so incredibly off-putting. i took the next day or so to be able to articulate it. these concepts are incredibly abstract and not in the least bit accessible to the general public. that first sentence i wrote for this thought section? that's how the presenters spoke for like over an hour. and worse lol. and i was able to keep up with a good amount of it but like...los angeles has a HUGE community where english is not the primary language, let alone having such niche understanding of the language used in describing these sociological/political concepts. it seems contradictory and ???? to have a movement whose primary goal is to move towards a system of participatory government and having increased representation of these communities within local government AND YET have the presentation of this vision and strategy be so inaccessible. even this organization's website is so full of jargon - ****what do you actually meannnnnnnnn?????**** is this the nature of sociological movements? why does this organization feel disconnected from the other organizers and community work i have seen? *sigh* i'm not really sure what to make of this experience, but i will continue to ponder it.
tuesday, june 13th, 2023
lol it has been a minute since i have updated this, so prepare for a long rambly update!

waghhhhhh woohoooo! so i have a new therapist! and i'm preparing to start emdr! and it is going to be sooooo cool. at some point, i'm going to learn how to better regulate my nervous system and get less stuck in previous emotions/experiences and actually heal from previous trauma! isn't that so neat?! goodbye constant flow of cortisol! you are so neat and rad for serving me all these years but jesus fuck pls if you could come when i'm actually legitimately in danger rather than at the slightest word/phrase/tone/look/whathaveyou, that would be soooo swell. anyways. i am going to be noting ~the narrative that my mind tells me~ and ~tracking how long it takes me to regulate myself when emotionally triggered.~ homework is so fun. i am so good at doing homework.

on another note. my birthday passed and that was a very fun! but also somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster. it was perhaps the best way i have ever celebrated my birthday. quality time is the most meaningful way for people to show care to me and golly-gee did i feel it! how neat. at the same time, though, i was also pondering birthdays in general but also hyper-specifically as an adoptee. and that made the day have a bit of a mixed tone. is this *actually* my birthday? how far off is it? are there people out in the universe also thinking of me, or of a person they conceptualize as me, on this day? as i sit in a hong kong style restaurant around families upon families with a family that is not my own, i think to myself, would this have been what a birthday in china would have been like? but also i know that it is not because i was not born in hong kong. and now i think to myself, damn how the hell am i supposed to learn about my own province when the internet is laughing in my face? how do i find what i do not know to look for? and yet, amongst all of these questions, i stand by my appreciation for those that share what they can with me. i may never be able to find the answers to my questions. but i am thankful for those that stay by my side as i navigate this world.

another other note, singing is such a strange thing! i did choir in high school for 3 years. i have never been a terribly confident singer, but it's a thing that i did and found joy in. i was apparently good enough to be accepted into our competition choir where i sang mezzosoprano. throughout that time and through college, most of my singing voice relied heavily on my head voice - a quieter lighter register above one's chest voice. i knowwww that's not necessarily proper singing technique, but no one corrected it and it was pretty comfy up there. that said, i was also never a particularly powerful singer. now this year, i don't know if it's of my own accord or perhaps with the assistance of testosterone, but i've gotten much more comfy singing with my chest voice. that is sooo neat! i can sing a lot louder and more powerfully and i can sing decently lower, especially in comparison to my high school days. i *think* it also just sounds better?? idk, it is of a different tone. anyways, looking forward to how all of that progresses with the testosterone. mmmm i wonder if i'm going to enter a squeaky phase despite my singing progress this year or perhaps by strengthening my chest voice beforehand it will make the voice drop easier? who's to say! we shall see!
tuesday, may 30th, 2023
you ever just uhhh try something new? and it goes well? and you feel really good about it???? lol i love you internet. you are so cool and swell and ahhhh. and that's on making connections with people who have very very very specific and numerous similar identities and experiences as you. waghhhh yahooooo. peace and love on planet earth. i swear to god i have to figure out how to bottle up joy so that i can remind myself that it does indeed exist when the times are tough and the brain is buzzing.
monday, may 29th, 2023
i escaped shrinky dink hell
sunday, may 28th, 2023
another society-ful day. throughout this week i have had a fairly significant debate about wether or not i should enter the masses and attend this zine fest. it is much easier to do things when you have a buddy, but alas. in the end, the me who hopes to fill their walls with art and collectable things won, and i did indeed attend the la zine fest. it was honestly a really cool event. very queer indeed and thankfully not not overly white. i was surprised to see ace representation today! how neat!
saturday, may 27th, 2023
no fucking shit sherlock >.> ...but also...damn i really am just living in my own delusion huh...i know it is important and all but i really wish my sympathetic nervous system would take a break so that i can stop feeling legitimately nuts.
friday, may 26th, 2023
high school band is sooo high school band LOL i am so proud of my students. they put together an amazing spring concert today ^.^ very glad i was able to attend.
monday, may 22nd, 2023
52 lines later of writing "stop being a fucking idiot" and no such progress has occurred. alas, this is this human experience. cursed with the longing for the incredibly painfully unlikely.

anyways, on an unrelated note, i completed so many adult tasks. in the past, my days off have simply been me recuperating from living in a society by sliming around playing video games. today, however, i completed a job application, successfully survived a calfresh re-certification interview riddled with microaggressions, went to the bank to pick up an obscene amount of quarters, interviewed for a summer position, called around to find an auto shop that won't ask for the cost of my kidney in return for services, did my laundry, and finally put things up on my apartment walls so that it looks at least half lived in. what a day.
sunday, may 21st, 2023
i had nearly forgotten why i was so sad today...happy birthday to my sister wherever you are. i wish we could have truly known each other. i wish we weren't so different. but again, wishes are for the frogs, pennies, and stars.
saturday, may 20th, 2023
that feeling when you finally are able to gather your courage and enter society to go to a public event and it doesn't make you anxious and you actually enjoy yourself :O. that's crazy! lol. i got 3 free tote bags! also bought a book, a few stickers, and a postcard. although i didn't really make any meaningful, long term connections, it was nice to know that i was able to function in society, somewhat hold a conversation with a stranger, and find some amount of joy on my own. james:1, scary world: 0
friday, may 19th, 2023
transphobic rhetoric sucks. people who say they are ~allies~ but actually fundamentally do not understand ~transgenderism~ and end up spewing invalidating statements for the sake of their own comfort? that uhhh really sucks too. i'm tired. and there is enough happening in this country already. and enough misgendering in work and society. i really would like to not have to deal with it at home. i know i'm not unique in this experience, and it is perhaps simply a part of the trans experience. but damn. shout out to friendo, hot potato, organ card games, hadestown, and sweet treats.
tuesday, may 16th, 2023
i wish i could be so much more.
sunday, may 14th, 2023
update it was just a cold lol.

on an unrelated note - happy gotcha day to mee! lols. haha. why is it called that? some adoptees and their families celebrate their gotcha day as a celebration of the day they were adopted. mine this year just happened to fall on mother's day - wonderful. my family didn't start celebrating gotcha day's until i got to high school-ish because they realized that another family they knew had this practice. however, since saying ~so long forever~ to my family in february of this year, i get to spend this one by myself. and since it was also mother's day, the day felt particularly shitty. i haven't ever really felt much emotion attached to mother's day until this year. it used to be just a day of obligation, but now i feel ~sooo much~ grrrr. too much? there's the anger and disappointment towards my family and adoptive mother for being who they are, the eternal loneliness that persists, and the longing for a true family. this year, i also had something new to ponder. i was thinking of my birth mother. i don't know who she is or the circumstances of why i was given up, but i hope that she is okay and living a fulfilling and joyful life somewhere in this world. i spent much of this day sulking alone in my room, resigned to honestly just feel miserable all day. but my friendo ~if you are reading friendo, hi hello you are so cool and neat and appreciated~ asked to go for a walk and grab a treat. for that time and space, i am truly grateful. it cannot be understated - the comfort provided on a significant day by a friend who knows you.
thursday, may 11th, 2023
hmmmmmm is it a cold? covid? or are my vocal cords doing silly goofy fun t related things? who's to say. 2 covid tests later says not covid. sooooo hmmmmm. anyways. today marks shot #3. yahoooo
tuesday, may 9th, 2023
so about a month ago, i requested a copy of all the records relating to my immigration from china to the us from when i was but a wee lad. for any interested, that's called a FOIA request via USCIS - from the freedom of information act. anyways. the resulting document was a whopping 87 pages, though it really wasn't terribly dense. it contained mostly financial records from my APs, us visa forms, and a written approval of my APs to be, well, parents. LOL. ngl that last one was quite funny to read - though in a not very funny way. to see them described as ~emotionally mature~. for example, a quote that makes me laugh in a slightly unhinged way: "they have learned to appreciate the simple pleasure obtained from watching and teaching [insert sister's name]...the [insert family name]s are thought to be prepared psychologically, emotionally, and financially to be good parents." like ... from the perspective 20ish years later, this is truly nuts. the suggested financial ~requirement~ to be a "good parent" is an entirely different conversation about how parenting is viewed here. and of course, this recount was provided by a licensed clinical social worker from an agency called "adoptions unlimited" o.o like BRUH. WTF. how was that name not a red flag >.> and that's on the commodification of children and complete disregard for the trauma that is inherent in this process... overall glad that i submitted the request. i was a bit disappointed to not find a few things like a copy of a certificate of citizenship or a copy of my father's 20 page autobiography (context - APs were asked to write ~5pgs describing why they should be parents; he chose to write 20 all about his life's story lol). all these thoughts just primed my brain as i move towards my ~gotcha day~, which is this weekend. more on that later.
tuesday, may 2nd, 2023
potential conflict is quite anxiety-inducing. there are a number of fears that feel ingrained into my bones - fear of situations and people blowing up as a result, fear of abandonment due to boundary setting, fear of the unknown - the potential difference between the before and after. my therapist says i have learned to be deeply untrusting in those around me due to a great deal of experiences where my trust in others has been broken. however, in times where my anxiety gets the best of me, and in relationships where it is not warranted, i need to trust in what i know and in my people, or well person. today, i gathered my wits and pushed past these fears in order to work through a thing with a friend. and it worked! nothing bad happened! in fact, the conversation resulted in a better understanding of each other. imagine that. the power of vulnerability, open communication, and friendship. i hope to be able to save moments like this for when my anxiety becomes loud once more. which, if we are being honest, is quite frequent. regardless, it is helpful to hold in my mind experiences that work to disprove the fear and anxiety in my bones. perhaps one day the muscle memory of trust will be stronger.
sunday, april 30th, 2023
i am still amazed by the restorative effects of geese. i was having a low day with plenty of things buzzing around in my head, but, when i took the time to sit with these lil geese, i reached a brief period of quite in my head. today, i sat on a rock in front of two sleepy geese. one must have been deeply asleep; when it breathed, it let out a quite HONK. a goose snore?
thursday, april 27th, 2023
first testosterone injection! note - pharmacies are stinky and goodrx is your friend.