December 22, 2023
Here’s me with 226 pg/mL of estradiol and Double Mint Chip ice cream (semi-sweet chocolate chips in a base brightened with spearmint AND peppermint) coursing through my body at the tail end of my 28th birthday. This is the only one of 8 shots Katya snapped through the window of Smitten on Valencia Street where my expression isn’t dismal.
I’ve been burnt out and gnawing on a heap of stressors that’ve bubbled over the past few days. There’s an expectation of certain jubilation on birthdays because usually those who care about you pay extra care and attention on your day. I wanted today to be different, but still wasn’t really feeling it.
Katya and I hiked 26 kilometers diagonally across the San Francisco peninsula because I needed a reachable goal to keep my mind off of unpleasant things. This post is also something I’m doing to feel like I’ve done something worthwhile on a day I see as an opportunity to reflect.
- Bull’s Blood perfume by Imaginary Authors. A single spray lasts a day or longer. The original formula contained a banned ingredient that led to its eventual reformulation. It’s lusty and particular and controversial. I loved it on first sniff.
- A heart-shaped blush stamp that looks like a blob when applied. The butt portion of the heart should be more pronounced. Or I just haven’t figured out how to use it yet.
- An illustrated version of one of my favorite photographs of myself, except the artist gave me comically (because it was unintentional) dark skin.
- A book about K2 accompanied by a card that says Gay Icon on the front.
- Cleaning by MUJI.
- One (1x) Rocky Talkie outdoor radio. Unfortunately two would have been too expensive. I have to hope my future climbing buddies will have their own. I tried scanning channels in my kitchen but no one answered.
I didn’t intend for this post to be so scattered. I was going to call it Bull’s Blood and had some fantastic metaphor cooked up. Seems my bitter mood’s gotten the best of me and I can’t remember the through line. I hope I’ll manage to squeeze out a separate writing within the following week to reflect on accomplishments and wisdom gained during this past year. Off the top of my head, this year I:
- Summited Mount Rainier.
- Didn’t summit Mount Shasta.
- Earned my scuba open water certification.
- Ran a 1/2 marathon in 1hr 45min.
- Bought my Royal Enfield and put 100s of miles on it.
- Acted in a professionally-produced adult film.
- Directed and acted in my own adult film.
- Visited Yosemite for the first time.
- Was a practice dummy for Katya’s massages.
- Came out to pretty much everyone who wasn’t already informed.
- Learned how to inject myself.
- Went sailing on the bay.
- Visited family on the east coast.
- Joined a social club.
- Saw Flume in concert.
- Dyed my hair pink.
There are a few more important moments that should be kept discrete, but I’ll hint at their existence lest they become lost to time.
Gah, this post is disappointingly vacant. I’d aspired to enshrine something meaningful for my future self, like I’d done at 25—but no, looking back, that writeup was similarly void of essence. To quote myself exactly three years ago to the day:
Told myself I’d do a writeup. Get introspective so I may look back in 25 years and see where my head was at. The day somewhat escaped me. Didn’t have as much time as I’d have liked for writing. Always the case, ain’t it? Relaxing nonetheless. Owe it to you to dig deep before the year’s up. Here’s a promise to publish words more coherent than these.
Always the case indeed. And that promise fell through, didn’t it! Maybe incoherence is the essence of these reflections. Because I spend the rest of my hours toiling towards some semblance of coherence, structure, meaning. The prophecy of last line of 25, though, has been fulfilled: “…in hope the shell will further shed.” That shell’s long gone… reckon I’m waiting for what was underneath to crystalize.
4/5ths through my 20’s, but who’s counting? I’m just a girl with a single radio, waiting for someone out there to glissade into my channel. In more ways than one.
See you at 30. Or next year. Or this upcoming week for your New Year’s post. Or not because you’ll stay in a bloody mood. Or forget. Or get overwhelmed. Just please don’t be so hard on yourself. I love you. And you reading this, who’s not me.
Happy holidays. Or not. Feel what you feel. And be glad you’re capable of feeling anything at all, because that’s an incredible part of being alive.
October 22, 2023
Tonight at the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, Werner Herzog told his audience that we were all living fictitiously—an amalgam of various presentations, none of which were entirely authentically ourselves.
He also noted that he did not believe in the concept of the present, going on to illustrate how the idea of the present is asymptotic with a metaphor from one of his recent books, The Twilight World: A soldier lifts his boot from the mud. The remaining print represents the past and where the foot will fall represents the future. The arc of every point in between, as the foot travels up and back down again, is what is imagined to be the present, though undefinably so.
Obviously, authenticity and temporality of the self are not new topics. So it felt almost stupid to listen to this guy simplify them to roaring applause.
A patchwork of fictions might as well make up reality as we know it, in which case, reality is fiction and by constantly performing versions of ourselves, we are being authentic. And the present needn’t be defined by a single static unit, but perhaps instead a tumbling aura of energy to which our collective consciousness seeds credibility.
Though Herzog is a legend, and downplaying his wise interpretation of profound concepts is akin to dismissing Picasso’s simple sketches as easy—in both cases, the autors earned their salt.
Quick tangent: Do you ever use a phrase and know in your heart it makes some sort of sense but have no ever loving clue how it weaseled its way into your mind hole? The salt phrase sounded right and I could rationalize the logic behind it with my cursory historical knowledge of the ancient value of salt, but some other sector of my brain questioned whether I made it up and the reader would have to either assume I know what I’m talking about or tally a bullshit point and decide whether to keep reading based on the veracity of my cerebral spewing.
Speaking of the present, my cat whose fur has spilled onto my bodily contour as waves lap the shore has decided to gaze up at me lovingly from an unfathomable slumber. I looked into his eyes and was reminded of the susceptible nature of writing—that producing an essay such as this cannot be completed entirely in an entranced state. And it made me think back to Herzog and tonight’s conversation and how mad I was at his own tired fiction. Here he was in the flesh, and I had to listen to the performative facade of his celebrity.
I really wish he had messed up somehow. Or been put on the spot. Or been hurled into some unknown, having to navigate on pure instinct. I include tangents and asterisks in my own writing because I want the production to be part of the product. The viscerality of reality should counterbalance the pretense of my uncertain, half-baked, poorly prosed, lazily unedited ideas. I want to offer the glimpse behind the balderdash, because I yearn for it in every piece of perfectly-polished media I guiltily consume.
That’s it for tonight. I lost my momentum. Katya stopped snoozing and summoned the popcorn. Pepper’s tufty tide has receded into an ocean of blankets, away from my typing elbow. It’s past midnight, as usual, and my daily regret for lack of a diligent sleep schedule has surfaced. I’m just glad to get something new up on the site to push the porn piece down a chronological notch—I was riding on that reflection for too long and need to make way for the next escapade. Until then, my drafts folder is fucking massive.
May tomorrow’s fiction turn instantaneously into the past with great vigor.
October 7, 2023
This post is NSFW.
I’m now officially credited in a professionally-produced porn film. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing. A friend texts some vague details and asks if I want to check it out, and next thing I know I’m filling out a 2257 adult model release form in an alley-entrance venue buzzing with curious characters.
I felt confident in the company of my friend, but unsure what I’d gotten myself into. I’d been curious about getting into porn before, having worked on the business side of the industry for a brief time. But showing your face is different—there may be future consequences. To hell with it. I was exhilarated. Everyone has seen porn. How many can say they’ve been part of it? It was an honor, really, to have this opportunity, and I surely wasn’t going to let it slip by. But it was especially an honor because the star was a famous trans actress—and trans porn is what clued me into the existence of trans people at a very young age.
Growing up, trans people were far more taboo than they are now. Despite the political scapegoating, I’ve seen so much positive progress in my lifetime surrounding transgender identities. And it fucking rocks. I wish I could have started my transition earlier, but it’s still a sweet time to be in the midst of it. It’s a bona fide renaissance.
Back to growing up… trans representation in media like movies was fucking terrible. Trans people were always portrayed as conniving and undesirable. There were some saving graces I discovered later, like the 90s television series Twin Peaks by David Lynch, where Detective Cooper sticks up for his colleague Denise. But the primary place where trans people were, er, appreciated, was porn. Porn overflowing with disparaging slurs abused by cisgender people to make a buck off fetishization. But I didn’t know any better, and it didn’t just turn me on, it turned me all the way up.
I felt guilty or dirty in a bad way for enjoying trans sex on screen. Looking back, it’s easy to see that these feelings stemmed from the cultural taboo—and also internally feeling bad for the objectification. And not objectification in a sexy, consensual way, but one that defames an entire vector of identity that has so, so, so much more dimension.
I now know that I was jealous—internally screamingly jealous—of those beautiful people in those photos and videos. As I write this, it’s the night after the night of the filming. A bit earlier, I looked up the actress from the shoot and tapped on one of her videos and had a revelation. A flood of warmth kicked in during the plot buildup of the porn, and dulled a bit during the more frictional frames. I found myself scrubbing ahead to the dialogue, wanting so desperately to know what happens next. I cared about the characters. And I felt what they were feeling before any on-screen stimulation even began. Can thank the proper hormones for this—the mystified feminine libido that recently decided to blossom within me. Oh god it’s amazing.
We’re back at the shoot. After grabbing a drink and mingling around, the florescent setup lights overhead cut off. The gloriously quirky cast converged outside for the first scene. We were told to stand in front of the lights and cameras, obviously, but some oddly didn’t and so I stepped up and made myself seen in the crowd. It was public-humiliation themed. There was main interplay between a sub and her dom, and the rest of us were to participate however we felt appropriate—inappropriate?—at any given time. I was sheepish but did try to get in a few slaps, etc. I scribbled a word on her body, which was actually quite difficult thanks to a combination of fluids lacquering her skin. Took a few selfies, as encouraged by the director. And more. Sensory overload.
Some were pros, others there for the very first time, like myself. I made a connection with someone who’d had their own production studio for a while and was considering getting back into it all. I met someone who gave me a wallop of an ego boost, saying I should be the one front and center, getting all the group love. I was simply amazed every second I was on set. I kept trying to imagine how it would be edited and what the final product would look like, stitching together the pieces in my mind. Thinking how fucking stupid I looked being a combination of bewildered, turned on, fulfilled, enlightened, concentrated, and careful not to get my nice leather jacket stained with lube.
This film will end up tossed atop an infinite pile of online smut, existing within a very specific, likely not often sought niche. Good for my more traditional career, maybe. But it’s different. The actress preambled the performance with a monologue on her efforts to change the tune of trans porn by reclaiming agency within it. She spoke of eradicating slurs and letting trans actors take on roles they were traditionally barred from. The next part gets a bit bitsy—I’m going to talk about girl dick.
Traditionally, as I understand it from my cursory knowledge of the porn industry, trans women were always expected to top, or penetrate other people using their penises. I wager it has something to do with fetishists harboring internalized homophobia and wanting to be dominated by women, albeit with dicks. “It’s not gay, bro.” But gock, shenis, whatever you call it, doesn’t function that way, for me at least. Nor for many of my girlfriends. Sparing you too much detail on my genitals, my parts simply work more like I imagine a vulva to work. It’s like a, uh… floppy clit. I could go on about the magic therein, but perhaps not on my website where anyone may lovingly attend. Though I would like to document it, especially for trans posterity. Maybe later. Just gotta preface with something like: “Mom and dad, I love you, but get far the fuck away from these words.”
It was empowering to witness a trans woman treated wholly as a woman in porn. It’s what I wish I had while coming of age—maybe I would have recognized myself sooner. It makes me question chasers, too… take a long look in the mirror.
What a ride. A night to remember. I’d definitely do it again, but there’s nothing like the first time doing anything, really. It’s pure elation. And if you were there with me, or you happen to come across this piece of pornographic art, you might not sense any of this through my anxious expressions and back-of-the-pack reticence, but my mind was abuzz and still is. I wasn’t the star, I wasn’t getting railed, but I didn’t need to be. I got to step into the looking glass of my childhood imagination and be on the other side. To live vicariously through someone confidently expressing herself with raw, unwavering vulnerability. How fucking cool.
I know who I am now. I feel alive. I want and feel wanted. Tarnished guilt buffs off with every swish of blush. Old shame wicks right off my swan feathers. My senses have breached the limits of vividity. And whatever the result of my participation brings, bring it. There is no time to do anything but that which makes you exuberant. Find your inner glow, and radiate.