Without being too maudlin or dramatic, I hope I can explain why I currently consider myself in exile. I am an Oregonian. I’ve spent half my life there. The last two and a half years I was there, after college, were the hardest years of my life. And yet, I love Portland in a way I can’t quite put into words. It’s home. I feel more right there than anywhere else, even when I’m unemployed and scared and wondering where I’m going to live and how I’m going to eat.
In December of last year, my life blew up. In the space of four hours, every single facet of my life in Portland came spinning apart in a wild spray of shrapnel. I was out of money, had no prospects for a job, had just been rejected from an apartment complex I was counting on to get me away from my increasingly scary roommate before he graduated from screaming at me to hitting me, and I failed all my classes. So I skipped town and headed down to San Francisco. The City, as the locals like to call it, didn’t work very well for me, so I kept going south until I hit Mom’s condo in Pasadena. I’m now stranded here, and uncertain when or how I will escape back to Oregon.
After the first few nights down here I started having panic attacks. I’d planned to transition after grad school, and if grad school was on hold, then my transition seemed hopelessly out of reach. Every night I’d have an attack, fighting myself to stay quiet so I wouldn’t wake Mom. (I should mention that her condo is a single room about the size of the bedroom I had when I was in high school.) After a couple weeks of this, I decided to postpone grad school and transition starting now, and the attacks subsided.
And so here I am, waiting for my appointment with the endocrinologist, practicing my voice, and growing my hair out. Mom isn’t very supportive, but at least she’s not trying to stop me. There’s still a lot of friction between us, though. I’ve got some pretty serious self-loathing issues that are unrelated to my gender identity stuff, and they are really making it hard to recover from this meltdown. Mom is trying to be helpful by hectoring me and treating me like a child and generally disapproving of everything I do that doesn’t involve me getting a job. It’s not working.
I’d like to return to Portland immediately, but there are logistical concerns that I’ve yet to suss out. I want to start hormones before I go, too. It seems easier to get them started here and then transfer to a new doc up north than to move and wait an eternity to get an appointment for a doc to start them after I’ve moved up there.