A promise

Content warning: depression, dysphoria, breakups, suicide


One time I was in Zul’Farrak, because I’m a gigantic nerd and also because it was better than being present in my actual surroundings, on a military base. It was like meditation but with other people and hit points. I was helping a guildie and when we were finished, sitting there together in the sand, she surprised me.

“Can I tell you something, like really personal? I feel like I can trust you.”
“Nobody else knows this so can you keep it a secret?”
“I was born a boy.”

Agonizing seconds passed. I knew she’d be spending every single one of them bracing for the worst. I had to decide. I swallowed hard. My hands shook.

“I’ve never told anyone this before, but… me too.”

I explained to her that I hadn’t transitioned, that this was all completely new to me, that I was terrified, but I was also dying.

“I don’t have any friends,” she told me, “they always leave. I can hook you up with some support groups in the PNW though.”
“I’m tall.”
“I’m not saying you can’t do this, but it’s going to draw attention, you know? I’m just saying.”
“I have a big awful crush on a boy in the guild. I’m like 99% certain he feels that way too. It’s hopeless, though.”
“Yeah. I’ve fallen for plenty of internet boys I can never be with too. You learn to deal with it and enjoy it for what it is.”

I logged out and reread TSRoadmap for the 112th time. It was utterly impossible. Not happening. A fantasy at best. But if I’d been cursed with eternal life like some kind of fucked up transsexual character of Greek myth, I’d have spent eternity rereading it and dreaming.

I’m out of the military. I’m in college, like before I enlisted, but this time I’m gay. I certainly wasn’t a woman, because I couldn’t be a woman, life just didn’t work that way. Oh, it did for other people. Those other trans women out there, actually transitioning (somehow) and existing and all that? Totally. Best I could do is put my face up to the glass and wonder what the secret was to passing through it. No, I had to accept being a guy and that meant being gay, and doing something with the knowledge I gained about myself the previous two years. As if one can ever return to such a state of ignorance.

This was actually worse than simply being in the closet. The cognitive dissonance will really screw you up. It’s like trying as hard as you can not to think about an elephant, except instead of picturing the elephant ever more clearly you get ever-escalating dysphoria and emotional rot and desire to jump from the 10th Avenue bridge into the silty, swirling currents of the Mississippi.

Mostly, I dealt with it by listening to heavy metal. Like man, have you heard the new Agalloch? It’s so good. Fucking bleak, man. You might go goth, instead. You might even stay goth when you transition. I grew a beard. It was a magnificent beard, aside from the fact it was just something to hide behind. Something so I would at least have a different face to stare at in my mirror and not recognize.

It’s a few years later. I’m transitioning, somehow. I’m dissolving estrodial under my tongue, anyway, and what happens as a result of that is simply going to happen. It’s not that I can’t imagine doing those things so much as that they’re happening and I don’t have a choice.

I have a girlfriend for the second time in my life. The literal first thing that happened when we became a couple is that she moved in with me. Before our first date, even. On the bright side I’m pretty chill about calling or not calling for a UHaul now because I already mastered it.

I shave my face. I cry. She touches me. I cry. She chuckles and I ask her what’s funny and she says she was just thinking about how completely different our bodies are. I cry. She says her needs aren’t being met. I cry.

It’s a few years later. I’m still transitioning. I’m not out at work. I’ve been in the hospital, I’ve been out. I found religion and pop music. I want to scream. I don’t think I’ll ever stop wanting to scream. I’m one of those trans women. I’m alive. You can be too. I promise. It’s brutal out there, but you can be too.

Sound & Color Toy

I actually made this a little while back, while watching AGDQ 2014: http://eiridescent.com/colors

When you click on one of the squares, it generates a tone based on the color. Hues map to notes on two octaves of a pentatonic scale, lightness corresponds to volume, and saturation to duration. It also blends the color you clicked on into the colors of the adjacent (non-diagonal) squares, so it’s impossible to play this “instrument” without irrevocably changing it.

I wanted to learn a bit of the Web Audio API, and while it’s a bit low-level, it’s not too hard to deal with for making simple notes like this.

Web Audio still has vendor prefixes hanging around, so if the spec evolves this code could become obsolete. An “oscillator” produces a wave, and “gain” lets you adjust the volume. So you’re kind of creating these components & imagining how you would have to physically connect them for it to work. Make an oscillator, connect it to the gain, connect the gain to the context.destination which you can kind of think of as the final output or speakers. If you did it the other way around, if the API let you (I haven’t tried), it wouldn’t work: you’d have a gain node changing the gain of nothing, then an oscillator, then the output. It’s not just “combine these things together to make the resulting sound,” the ordering matters. For folks who have done electronic audio stuff before this is probably not at all a surprise, but to me it was less obvious at first.

oscillator.type  could be sine, square, sawtooth, triangle, or “custom”, the latter of which both fascinates and terrifies me.

With that out of the way, playing notes based on color properties is easy, with a little assistance from jQuery.

From here, I think it’d be fun to make a simple music sequencer, but I’d have to learn more about how such a thing even works.