Coming out: Hi! I’m a gay non-binary femme, and I’m trans.

National Coming Out DayToday is National Coming Out Day! I thought to myself, “today would be a great day to actually come out.” Then I thought, “But Sina, you’re already out, why would you want to do that?” The answer is quite simple: I can share a bit of my story. No two experiences are the same and there is no “universal” experience for a person to “come out.”

Some people write super eloquently about their experiences. I’m really bad about talking about myself and my own things, so I am just going to ramble through.

So, “hello world”: I am a gay non-binary femme, who happens to be transgender.

One of the most common things I see people ask is, “when did you realize you were trans?”1)As a rule, I never answer this or other questions when a stranger asks, because to me it is quite rude. Generally, I tell people that I never “realized” it. Up until recently, I never really thought too much about gender, gender roles, and all the other things attached to those in our culture. I felt like a girl, so I must be a girl!

In kindergarten, I would often play house with my friends, and I would always be the wife or house cat. I refused to play a boy because that was boring to me. I was already playing at being a boy, because that’s what people wanted me to do, and playing house let me do otherwise. Until the teacher realised what was going on, at least. I was no longer allowed to play house when the teacher noticed me playing wife. He reasoned to us “that’s not what two boys do.”2)This confused me as a child. I grew up around many types of couples and it never looked or seemed wrong to my little brain. Adults made my head hurt when I was a kid, and I guess, still do.

It was from there that I tried my hardest to blend in with what people wanted me to be. The major reason I would hardly talk to anybody throughout my school days was not because I was anti-social by choice, but because I hated how I sounded when words came out of this mouth. I hated how this body was changing. My brain always thought, “this body is mixed and broken.” I constantly dwelled on some very awful thoughts. Coming out wasn’t a concept to my brain at the time, though I had heard and seen some of my gay and bisexual friends do just that.

A picture of Sina wearing a green dress.

“If you felt this way, why didn’t you start a transition sooner?” Medical transition would have started sooner if I could have afforded it, and if I had known where to start. I would have started it if I was sure that I wouldn’t lose friends and family over it. It felt safe in the hell that was pretending to be who I wasn’t, even though safety was really not the word I would use to describe it. It terrified me to talk to doctors about it, for fear that they would think I was unfit to be a human.3)I have fears like this even still, but they are greatly diminishing. This did not stop me from socially changing my name and expression, though, and over the course of several years I basically came out in a super gradual manner.

When I found out that there was insurance in my state that covers it4)Thanks, Obama., I made the plunge. The plunge lost me friends and family. I am no longer able to get most jobs I qualify for. I lost my sense of self, too, however warped it was, because I used working as an escape. To my mind, I lost everything, but also gained everything. The freedom of coming out as myself has been the most thrilling, exciting, horrendous, fascinating, and terrifying thing ever.

“What is this non-binary nonsense?” I’m so glad you asked! Here is a wonderful page on that subject. I see myself as a woman, but not female.

Another thing that has changed drastically is my view of attraction and sexual orientation. I have never really been monogamous, though I have been in monogamous relationships. That part hasn’t changed, though. What has changed is that I think boys can be kinda cute.

I have also realized that attraction can be (and for me, often is) platonic. My life has grown significantly better by embracing my love for and attraction to my friends.

One of the worst (yet inevitable) first questions that strangers often ask is, “Are you going to get ‘The Surgery’?” I usually don’t even give the person an answer, and generally block them5)I have learned that people who ask this question without knowing who I am, are often really, really gross individuals.. A person’s gender identity is not tied to what genitals they have. This is a super, super rude and intrusive question that nobody ever needs to ask, and I will never answer.

Friendly and important reminder:

Please don’t ask personal questions of strangers unless they say it is okay to. And please, never ask about surgeries or genitals.

Whatever you do, do not out someone else. This can and often is super dangerous. There are a lot of people who hurt and murder people like me.

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1. As a rule, I never answer this or other questions when a stranger asks, because to me it is quite rude.
2. This confused me as a child. I grew up around many types of couples and it never looked or seemed wrong to my little brain. Adults made my head hurt when I was a kid, and I guess, still do.
3. I have fears like this even still, but they are greatly diminishing.
4. Thanks, Obama.
5. I have learned that people who ask this question without knowing who I am, are often really, really gross individuals.

Tomorrows End

There’s a song from my past that I never put much thought into, since the lyrics aren’t until the end of the song, and are rather emotionally full of longing and melancholy. It has never had any real special meaning to me, until I listened to it again. It makes me cry, now. The song is “Tomorrows End” by System22.

I see you when I travel stars
When I feel the scars inside
I need you every night and
Every time I fall from heaven

I feel you with me
Your voice still lingers
You bathe in sun and splendor

I touch you every night in my mind
Reaching through in wonder
Do you feel me kissing
Your skin in starlit hunger

I feel you with me
Your voice still lingers
You bathe in sun and splendor

I feel you with me
Your voice still lingers
You bathe in sun and splendor

Workflow Changes in 2016

My workflow has kinda changed this year:

  • Xubuntu 16.04 (without xfce installed, swapped for cinnamon) instead of Linux Mint Debian Edition
  • Keybase filesystem (KBFS) to better encrypt/decrypt files
  • Synergy so I can use my keyboard and mouse between desktop and laptop
  • Atom editor replaces Sublime, which I am happy about
  • I primarily use IRC still, but some teams use Slack and Discord, which is a bummer
  • TweetDeck is still a pinned tab, but I am working on a bot to replace it
  • I had to create a Skype account to work with a client 🙁
  • Migrated away from pelican (again) to WordPress because I’m a lazy girl
  • I use a webmail client until I set up Nylas sync engine to use N1
  • Flash is not on any of my machines
  • My mobile runs on a modified CyanogenMod13 with pico gapps to get rid of TouchWiz and other carrier grossness
  • ownCloud has become even more integral to my backup plan
  • So many aliases for bash now!
  • Python virtualenvwrapper has been a life saver
  • Ditched default terminal emulators and am using UXTerm until I find something that makes me happy

What a wonderful day!

Today is a particularly important one for me. When I look in the mirror, I didn’t hate what I saw. I didn’t think that there was a gross abomination staring back at me. I saw a beautiful young woman staring back at me with her sparkly blue eyes. I saw frizzy, curly hair framing a smiling face, and I didn’t think it ugly. I didn’t see any of the features as detracting or awful; I saw me.

To a lot of people this is probably silly, but to myself and others who have body image issues, this is the most wonderful thing to have happened to me in a very long time.

Network Shuffling

Due to some wonky things going on, I needed to delete my GitHub account, as well as a few other networks. I have recreated them, some with different names (as mandated by that network).

I am re-publishing all of my code that was on GitHub as new repositories, which means that my commit histories are gone1)this is intentional. I’m also taking this time to do major refactors on my projects like harbinger and my Linux customizations Being that this is a new account, there is no list of existing issues.

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1. this is intentional

My Minecraft 1.8 Shader & Resource Setup

Recently, I have gotten back into playing Minecraft. Given my lust love for tinkering, I couldn’t help find out how to make the default game look “better.” This is what I did to achieve satisfaction:

Note: Change %appdata% to ~/ for Linux.

  1. Download Minecraft Forge version 1487
  2. Download Optifine 1.8.0 HD U D5
  3. Download Karyonix’ Shaders Mod (their direct adfly link)
  4. Download SEUS v10.1 Ultra shaderpack
  5. Install Minecraft Forge – default location should work.
  6. Open File Explorer and type %appdata%/.minecraft into the address bar.
  7. Copy Optifine_1.8.0_HD_U_D5.jar into mods/1.8 (create directory 1.8 if it isn’t there already)
  8. Start Minecraft and press edit profile on the forge profile
  9. Make sure release 1.8-Forge11.43.3.1487 is selected under use version
  10. Open Minecraft and turn off AA, AF, Fast Render, Natural Texture.
  11. Close Minecraft
  12. Copy ShadersMod-v2.4.12mc1.8.jar into mods/1.8
  13. Copy SEUS-v10.1.zip to %appdata/.minecraft/shaderpacks
  14. Open Minecraft and go into Options. You should see Shaders...
  15. Select SEUS-v10.1.zip

I use Realistico for my resource pack. It is a high resolution version of the default textures, plus a bumpmap for taking advantage of shaders.

Download Realistico:

  1. Texture (Mediafire link)
  2. Bumpmap (Mediafire link)
  3. Place them in %appdata%/.minecraft/resourcepacks
  4. Enable both for the best effect!

2015-10-12_00011 2015-10-12_00012

Relocating Steam Screenshots

It is a pain to find Steam screenshots in Windows (and to a lesser extent, Linux and OS X). For example, the default location is C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\userdata\[id]\760\remote, where [id] is your SteamID number. Windows versions since Vista will allow you to create symlinks, which lets you move data without having to change the program’s output location.

You will need to rename or move remote before mklink will work!

Steam1

You will need Administrator privileges to do this and will need to use cmd. Pressing Win+ x will open a menu where you can select “Command Prompt (admin).” When open, you can type something like: mklink /D "[Steampath]\userdata\[id]\760\remote" "C:\new\path\to\Screenshots\"

For my purpose, I cut and pasted remote to D:\Pictures\ and renamed it to Steam, then did:
mklink /D "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\userdata\[id]\760\remote" "D:\Pictures\Steam"

Steam2

The remote folder in the Steam directory will now have the shortcut arrow to indicate that it’s really in another location. If you are a screenshot junkie like I am, this makes it much easier to curate screenshot galleries outside of the Steam platform.

In Linux and OS X, use ln -s instead of mklink /D.

Location in Linux: ~/.local/share/Steam
Location in OS X: ~/Library/Application Support/Steam
Example: ln -s ~/.local/share/Steam/userdata/[id]/760/remote ~/Pictures/Steam

If this isn’t working for you, send me a tweet or email me!

Milepost 2: Is That a Snake or..?

It has been a very long time since I wrote a more personal entry online. After rediscovering a post of mine on Medium, I felt like I should write some another life update milepost for my future self. Since writing In Pursuit of Happiness, I have hit some really low points. I have not been all sunshine, rainbows, and worked-on-the-first-try code. I sincerely felt that I no longer belonged, that there was no place for me anywhere. I’m on my sixth week of walking uphill back into the land of Happiness, for which I am definitely grateful. This battle is ever-changing and always finding new ways to challenge me.

I have gone through fits and spurts of confusion and chaos, trying to find out what I really like and who I really am. To this end, I tend to go on mass-deletion sprees of online content I have curated, because I feel that it no longer shows who I am. The only place I haven’t deleted in years is Twitter (the last time I deleted that was in 2013), but it is far more accurate a picture of the evolution of Sina. One of the more telling places in the past has been Tumblr, but I have deleted it twice since my last “happiness update.” (I do have one again, which I started today — it is what led me to start this rambling stream-of-conscious writing. It can be found at: sillysina.tumblr.com).

It is strange to feel at peace without having the little voice in the back of my mind nagging at me, saying, “when is the bad stuff gonna happen?” It is also not as uncomfortable to rebuild, as I had been imagining it would be. The whole “coming out” and the shenanigans that ensued has caused me to lose a lot of amazing people that I connected with. I have lost friends and family, but more importantly, I have found my family of people that accept me as I am. I thought I would have stronger feelings of regret, but after putting many hours and days of thought into it, I realize that I am far happier despite the shuffling of the who and what in my life.

Time allowing, I will rebuild connections with some people of my past. I am, however, focusing on forging new relationships and keeping existing ones in good health. It sounds easy, after reading these words, but shedding negative people and habits from my life has been terribly painful at points, but has opened some very important and personal questions in my mind.

Over the course of starting hormones, I have realized that my tolerance for awful people has plummeted. Rather, I have started to feel less dissonance between myself and my physical vessel, which has brought me back to a level of self-assuredness that helps do away with some of my more overly-anxious tendencies. I have recovered some of my previous ways of (positive) thinking and my life feels like it is coming together again. The kitten I am now is a strange conglomeration of what I liked in the past and how I intend on being in the future.

The biggest thing I have done this year is let go of the past, learn from mistakes, and move forward as best I can. Being on hormones has done wonders for the inconsistency of my emotions and of my acceptance of myself. One of the many large roadblocks in my life feels not so monumentally awful.

Some of the changes I have made this year include:

  • stripping and reorganizing The League of Magnificent Scoundrels to no longer be the main focal point of my life and livelihood,
  • getting back into the groove of programming, writing, and gaming, which leads to
  • formalizing WizardSpire Games and sharing with the world the creations we make,
  • making do with what I have and working toward a bigger goal,
  • speaking my piece when I feel it necessary,
  • finally starting hormone replacement therapy,
  • giving no fucks what people think of me,
  • listening to myself,
  • and letting go of things I thought I needed.

Look at all the bothers I give.

Reading some of my old writing, I reconnected with a fragment of my hidden core, and realized that I had lost my path to ataraxia (freedom from stress and worry). I had spent the last few years lamenting that I am a dusty ball of yarn that had been bleached by prolonged exposure to the sun. The more I let myself acknowledge me, the more I hid from the world, out of fear of what others thought, of how I would be perceived. The last few years have been rather uncharacteristic of me, because I dislike hiding.

I have increasingly been more vocal on matters important to me, and it has been positively scary. I feel alive and happy again, and am unafraid to speak my mind, even when I full well know the shit storms it may kick up. Sometimes those storms need to be kicked up, though. Constructive conflict is a good and healthy thing.

Speaking of storms, why did I ever stop writing? I have used a large array of excuses to justify this, even though not writing makes me profoundly unhappy. The consistency of my time programming has also been impacted negatively over the course of the past few years, which also bugs me. I have let negativity block the progress on one of my most favorite projects (Scribbington) and willfully atrophied my creative muscles.

Since taking up the habit of diary writing, I have felt less constipated in the land of figuring out how to put words onto paper (and into documents), as this post might reflect.

The last six weeks feel like they have been some of the consistently happiest weeks in my adult life. I have started to feel like myself, which has positively reflected in how others perceive this silly catgirl-loving Sina. It seems my reflection is working again.

This post is a hot mess but I knew that if I edited, it would never see the light of day.

Thank you for reading my words. ♥

Oh dear, it appears I'm fresh out of fucks.

Goodbye Artemis

Artemis is dead. She died not too long after I last posted about it. Her hard drive is now inside Remedios, my desktop. I have spent the last two months working at my desk, which has been really weird.

I miss having the freedom to work wherever and whenever. Honestly though, it is more of a convenience than anything. Not having a mobile computer beyond my phone has made me rethink bow I prioritize work. I have even started shifting some work back on to paper, which has benefited me in having less distraction. In a way, this has also helped me cope with my compulsive work behavior. It has not, however, helped with trying to “correct” my revolving sleep cycle. But, we won’t talk about that!

Performing server maintenance via ssh through one’s Android phone was initially really neat, but the lack of physical keyboard has grown quite tiresome. I know there are Bluetooth keyboards out there, but I really don’t know if I want to invest in that.

I really am looking forward to finding a replacement for Artemis.

“Not Your Average Pancake” Pancakes

This recipe could easily make 24+ pancakes at 1/4 cup size, but it all depends on what size you make ’em. I generally make ’em rather large, since I tend to cook for myself as well as my crew. In the initial creation of this recipe, I turned out 16 pancakes (four at 1 cup size, the rest at 1/2 cup size). I suggest you halve this for a family of four; this easily feeds our ship’s crew!

If you do halve it, use 1 chicken egg. Substitute the 1 duck egg for 2 chicken eggs, if you do not have access to duck eggs.

  • 3.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 7 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2.5 cups milk
  • 1 duck egg
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

Directions

  • In a large bowl, sift together the baking powder, flour, salt and sugar.
  • Make a well in the center and pour in the melted butter, milk, and egg.
  • Mix until smooth.
  • Heat lightly oiled frying pan or griddle over medium high (or whichever you know to be best for your range).
  • Pour or scoop batter onto heated surface, using your preferred measuring size for each pancake.
  • Cook to your preferred stage and serve hot and with your desired toppings and drink.