I am starting a new blog about family life, being trans, being a parent, and maintaining a queer identity as I am physically making changes. I hope that it will help others by providing a space to comment and ask questions. There really is not a lot out there on parenting as a transman or queer relationships. This also a way for out friends a family to get to know us and share in the challenges and joys.
The new blog is "Queer Like Us" I will make it public in a few days.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Well I don't actually have any new pictures to post for this post but I think I have a few things to say. It has been awhile since I have written on my blog and I think that is because I some how thought that since I had decided to stay for a little while that my journey was over. That really couldn't be farther from the truth. Now is the time that I can really write about the experiences I have had and share some of the deeper lessons I have learned and hopefully I won't miss some of the funny aspects of my story.
I work nights now at a job that lends itself to having free time to write. This is amazing!
So the journey continues>>>>>>>
I work nights now at a job that lends itself to having free time to write. This is amazing!
So the journey continues>>>>>>>
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 3:25 AM
Monday, March 22, 2010
So... I went to this film event about sex workers. It was really an amazing event. My eyes were opened to many new things. It is another way the right wing is destroying the world. Americans have used money to bestow their "values" world wide by requiring that programs in other countries that receive funding for the US are not allowed to support the education and safe sex practices for sex workers. And if they do they will not receive much needed funds for operation. Without the funding many programs that were working are not anymore and are leaving people at greater risk and danger.
Also the things that are happening inside the borders are ridiculous. Again we are not educating people, youth, practitioners and leaving in high risk, high danger, and low effectiveness in solving real problems in the world. ARRGGG it is with a heavy heart that I think about these things but I still have to get up day after day and am about to work in systems that fail the people they are meant to serve. We are continuously spinning our wheels and fighting the same fight over and over and over again. This angers me. Civil rights, no matter what today's date is, are the same. The parallels are endless no matter who you are taking about.
I guess that is why the heavy heart.
The other is that I am looking for my place here in Seattle. I am still a small town boy that moved to the big city. I am just trying to find my way with out losing what I is core to myself.
There were many Gender Queer folks at this event that really through me for a loop. When it really comes down to it I am a guy that likes being a guy and I like some of the gender lines but still value woman and others expression of gender. I still rely on connecting with people based on gender. I guess I really am quite conservative when it comes to alternative gender expression and sexuality. I am struggling with not knowing yet how i fit within the world. However i absolutely love Seattle and hope to live here for awhile.
Anyway those are my very rough thoughts. I am still trying to process my thoughts about the sex worker film event and my own place in the world.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 8:17 AM
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Like the drift wood on this beach, I am finding land. When I left on this trip I felt like a kid home from college but still a kid. I was not child but definitely not ready to grow-up. I have spent the last week or so coming to terms with growing up. I MUST ACHIEVE ADULTHOOD!!! Only to realize that it is the way I conduct my business that makes me an adult. A friend of mine in Tucson, AZ mentioned this but I really didn’t understand it until now. I have been continually shooting myself in both feet to keep myself from being an adult. It doesn’t really matter why. I suppose we all have to leave the nest and find our own path. For years I have been cradled by the comfort of the sea, have often been smashed into the rocks and made my way aimlessly to many shores but have never really landed anywhere. My kaleidoscopic trip has provided the opportunity to take a deep look at myself and to start accepting the character that I have developed.
I have come to an interesting time (the 30’s). It is interesting to talk with those coming into their 20’s and recall the dumbass things that I have said or thought. I really had it all planned out then too. But now, I am looking to land not atop Mount Everest or as the next Sarah Palin smashing presidential candidate or what anyone else thought I should be (or should not). I have been looking for what I want. Well I still don’t know but like many times in my life I will land, adventure and grow. I don’t have any terrific full-proof plan to solve all the world’s problems in 80 days. The growth will hurt and I will again find myself here looking for employment, a place to heal, and another set of cliffs to smash into. The only thing I really know is that is likely to hurt. Hopefully I will be a little more forgiving of my own struggles in the future.
It needs to said though, that the dumbass things and ideas that come from today's adolescents are important and to be validated. Their energy and hope for change is important, and maybe a part of me hopes to never lose that energy and drive to make the world a better place. So I leave you all with the hope that the eager adolescent still thrives within us once we start conducting the stuffy business of adulthood.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
For the first time ever I feel blessed rather than cursed for being short. I suppose everything has its upside. When the sun starts to go down I start to look for parking spots or camp sites. What I am discovering is that it can be very difficult to be anywhere for the night, especially in California. I finally started just looking for Wal-Mart parking lots because I knew that I could stay there for night without being hassled by the police. Sometimes I would not have a plan for the night and have to rely on friends with Internet in Colorado for help navigating to the nearest Wal-Mart parking lot. I just get distracted sometimes by all the shiny water and enormous trees. Somehow I would fin sleeping places and everything would workout. It does seem very excessive to me that California has few National forest along the coast and that they charge $35 for tent camping (Oregon is more reasonable).
When I got to Oregon I was so happy for the possibility that I would be able to camp for many days maybe even two weeks. But unfortunately my hopes were smashed by the rain that never ends. Rain, rain, rain, then blowing rain. My spirits started to be dampened by the rain. So I decided to move along more quickly to Portland. Friends, a house, and a shower were just what I needed. However I think I really like sleeping in my truck and I feel very comfortable there. I have removed the passenger seat and replaced it with a piece of Masonite with a sleeping bag over it. I am usually pissed off in the morning because I still have too much crap in the front of my pick-up. Mostly because I am trying to keep things dry. Then there is the issue of what to do with my dirty laundry. I guess what I am getting at is that no matter where you go and how you live, you can never escape housework. AND I might add that when there is only me, there is only me to do the dishes. I still hate dishes, I may never out grow my hatred for doing the dishes.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 12:35 AM
Saturday, February 6, 2010
This is a story that I have been in many ways intimidated to tell. It is a story that has taken a week or so to process.
I stopped in Monterey Bay on one of very few sunny days in "Sunny California" during this trip. I was hoping to take along walk on the beach, maybe read some of my book, and just relax before I had to find a place to sleep for the night. When out of no where I was selected by two very excited sandy paws. I was the new friend of Bella. She greeted me and introduced me to her two legged companion Ashley. Ashley was disapproving of Bella's methodology but was soon fine when she realized I was too a dog lover. I continued on with my walk and on my way back Bella requested another petting. Ashley and I began to talk about travelling and some small talk. The conversation was pleasant and then I was invited to sit a bit. As our conversation went on Ashley told me that she had been homeless since she was 13 years-old. This was nearly 10 years of scrounging for food, moving from place to place, sleeping in all types of elements. I could not pretend to understand, so I didn't try. I just listened to her story. She wasn't telling me in a way to make me feel sorry for her she was just sharing her story as if I were a friend. And I wasn't listening as someone trying to fix her or help, I was listening like a friend.
She shared stories of drugs, riding rail, panhandling, spending time in jail, sleeping in parks, being unable to find work, and being in a perpetual state of pulling her head out of her ass. As the stories unfolded I started to become more intimately aware of a system that we know to be broken. Most of us simply bitch about it, others find careers in it, and many actually live in that system.
We talk of boot straps and pass around the blame like the worlds problems is big game of hot potato. But to Ashley and Bella it is right there everyday.
Ashley had a boyfriend Richard they had been together for a year. He had also been homeless for about 10 years. Together they told me of "acts of charity" by some that where motivated by some sex fantasy. They also talked about the homeless shelters being full and they would have to sleep outside but when found by Johnny law, they would sometimes be ticketed and their sleeping bags and traps would be confiscated and held as evidence of their crime. Ashely talked about how people often look down on her because she has a dog. But she said that it is a scary and unsafe way to live and Bella provides a great deal of protection for her.
I felt so fortunate that they befriended me. I gave them a ride north to San Mateo, CA. I did it because I really enjoyed the conversations and the companionship. On the way north, they wanted me to stop in Santa Cruz. They said it was a really neat place and worth seeing. They took me to the wharf there and showed me the sea lions. But I saw another side of Santa Cruz. I got the homeless tour. They told me great things about the city and I was shocked that they knew many people there. They were supportive of one another and gave each other tips on how to get food. I watched Richard eat left over food from trash cans and ask passersby for their leftovers. This was just normal life for them.
I will not venture to say that this was a good experience in the good and bad since of things. And I do not tell this story as a light hearted silly adventure that I have had. This was a moment along my journey that I was humbled even more. I am honored to have had the opportunity to share an experience with them. And when I am bitching about the rain, loneliness, and parking issues I do think of how fortunate I am to have what I have. I think we all just do what we can and live the best we know how with the tools we have available to us.
I have spent many hours on this trip trying to capture the perfect pictures of waves crashing into rocks or curling over on itself and crashing into the beach. I have been utterly fascinated by the ocean and sometimes captivated by its power. My camera and I have unintentionally came close to being captured by the sea in pursuit of a great photo. I love and fear the power of the ocean. It is like some mystical creature with amazing color patterns and some hypnotizing shapes. And just when I get truly hypnotized by the creature and am standing in awe of its beauty that, is when it happens. The water sneaks right up, the waves crash, and I am all wet. It is at those times that I feel a tinge of oceanic power and I am reminded to be respectful.
Once I found myself so excited that I could walk out to some rocks near the water. This would provide me with a different camera angle. Before I could snap a shot, the waves came crashing in and I was wet up to my waist. I realized that I was in danger and immediately moved to higher ground. Another time I was sitting on a beautiful peace of driftwood a good distance from the shoreline (or so I thought) when all of a sudden I was falling off the log and found myself soaked. I will not say that I am stupid or should have learned the first many times this had happened. I claim innocence, absolute innocence. I believe I was lured in by the hypnotic beauty and power of the ocean in its attempt to claim me.
I have told a couple of people that about my experience of powerlessness over the sea and they have reminded me of 2 things. 1)I am ignorant of ocean's power and I do not have fins; 2)That I do not want to be the jackass tourist on the evening news trapped on some rock. In any case, I am forced to simply laugh at myself, pick myself up, and check for strangers. If I can't be on the news, I will have to settle for being some guy that got waxed by a wave, in their own stories they take home with them.
Monday, February 1, 2010
So not everyone in the L.A. area is in a gang nor does everyone have a gun in their belt as I had imagined. The truth is, I had been afraid of L.A. and the driving conditions for good (media) reason but didn’t realize that it was really possible to live in a metropolis with grace. I remember driving to different areas throughout the conglomerate of cities and found little neighborhoods to be quiet and quaint. I even went off in the rain and ventured into L.A. with no definitive agenda. Almost peed myself when I saw the HOLLYWOOD sign. I laughed out loud and really couldn’t believe that I got to see attraction, I had only seen in the movies. Me in Hollywood, seemed like a riding lawn mower on the freeway.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 10:37 AM
It has been a long time since I have felt welcomed and myself, on my mom’s side of the family. I was happy to know that I have family in the L.A. area. I thought that all that part of my family was in the Texas Panhandle. The conversations were meaningful and deep. I think through this experience I started to understand my father’s love for me. Watching Terry with his girls really was the essence of a fathers love for his children. Terry reminded me so much of my own dad. Like my dad, he is strong, has a great heart, loves his country, works hard, and above all loves his children. I enjoyed the conversations we had and have great respect for him. Of the meaning things I learned from Terry, the most important lesson was about a father’s love for his children. Somehow I understood my own dad more.
I also enjoyed meeting Terry’s daughters. It was exciting that they were happy to meet the relative they never knew existed. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing stories and drinking beer with them. Both Deidra and Kelly are unique and wonderful in their own way. They have different life goals but one thing is for sure they are both truly loved by their father. Deidra and I went to explore the area. She took me all over. We drove up to the Hollywood sign, Santa Monica, Queen Mary, and the L.A. Harbor. Thank you to all of you for such a nice time. AND Terry is an amazing cook. I am inspired to be a better cook now.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 10:25 AM
What can I say about Las Vegas that everyone doesn’t already know? It is a place to party, elope, and get broke. The Gambler’s Mecca. Being there alone elicited feelings of great loneliness; especially, since I would not consider myself to be even remotely interested in gambling.
In an attempt to escape the rain at Lake Mead I decided to try staying at a hostel. For $12 I got a shower and a rack. I stayed in a room with 4 bunk beds and a bathroom. I had the choice of staying in male, female, and mix gendered rooms. I chose to stay in the mixed gendered room because I didn’t feel good about the other choices. When I got to the room there was a sleeping man in his chosen bunk. There was no one else around but I didn’t care all I really wanted was a Shower. I hadn’t had one of those in about 6 days and I am quite sure I was very ripe. I did some laundry and then decided to take a look around Vegas. I was right on Fremont Street so I went down to old Vegas. It was really neater than I had suspected but I didn’t feel good about being there by myself. During the day there was a lot of homeless individuals roaming the street and I was really a little uneasy so I left that area to go to the main strip. I parked in New York New York and got a beer there. I am really not much for gambling so I wondered the strip. It started raining and didn’t seem to stop. The streets were so full of rain but I was content to just wander the strip drinking beer. I did collect plenty of the Las Vegas Trading cards (girls, girls, girls).
Back at the hostel that night, I went to sleep about 9 o’clock and then woke up some time in the early morning, maybe 3ish. The streets were still noisy with arguing people and drunks. It had had a knot on my head for a week that bed. I was happy to leave sin city!!!
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 9:52 AM
Friday, January 22, 2010
FREE Camping at Lake Mead!!! I enjoyed three nights at Lake Mead and had planned to stay five. I really enjoyed reading by the lake and hanging out with myself. I was still feeling pretty lonely but managing the loneliness with movies, reading, and writing. It was very beautiful and pretty nice weather until the third day. I guess it is great for the region to get so much rain and it is good for the environment especially since Lake Mead seemed to be low on water when looking at the hard water line in the lake and sounding the Hoover Dam. My perspective it from the point that if I get wet; I will get cold. So, I decided to cut my camping at Lake Mead short and moved into Las Vegas.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 4:58 PM
Each vehicle is checked before it can cross the Hoover Dam. I was a little surprised and really didn’t think much about it until I was asked to pull over so the homeland security officers could inspect my hillbilly toolbox (as they referred to it). This would not have even been a second thought had I not just come from Mexico and had I not pissed off the border patrol there. What was strange to me was that I was more thoroughly checked to cross the dam than I was getting into the country. Don’t get me wrong I am not wishing that my experience at the border was more hilarious. Not only was I asked to open up my boxes in the back on the truck I was also asked to park in a special location because I have a propane tank in the back.
While at the Hoover Dam I had some weird internal conflict. I simply drove across the dam snapping photos from the road but then decided not to stop and get out to walk around until I got out of the Dam area. So I talked myself into turning around to park and walk. I did this twice. It was weird to experience myself second guessing something so simple. I really wanted to get out and see the dam but somehow thought I didn’t want to deal with all the people or I felt as if just driving across it were enough to say that I had been there. What I really wanted was to get out. So I ended up crossing the dam 3 times in one day just to see the DAM thing. Right there on that Dam I decided that if there is something I want to do I will do it.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 4:22 PM
So, I found this great little campsite off the Joshua tree Parkway going north toward Kingman, AZ. It was a quiet place that faced a big beautiful rock canyon. I got settled in, put up my tent, and cooked a good dinner. It was nice to breathe in the fresh air and have some alone time. When the sun went down it was dark; so dark, that you needed a flashlight to find the tent from 10 feet away. I mean this was the meaning of pitch black. So as I got comfortable and started to decompress from my stay in Phoenix, my internal monologue started. You know that feeling when you are really into what you are doing and your internal dialogue is so loud that it could drowned out the sound of INVESCO Field in Denver when the Bronco’s score a winning touchdown at the last second of a game? Well I was in the middle of orcastrating a grand symphony with my internal dialogue when an illustrious animal makes a loud noise outside of my tent. And like a fainting goat, I was on my bed in my tent, petrified. I didn’t move and I think I was only breathing enough to keep my brain alive. I laid there for about five minutes then slowly started to return to life. I continued to keep my internal monologue to a quiet conversation, like in the quiet zone of the library. Then I finally finished writing my post cards and then drifted off to sleep. In the morning I woke up and heard a similar sound that had scared the shit out of me the night before. I opened my tent up to discover that the sound was coming from a cow and Jackass in the adjacent field. Needless to say I felt like a lost city mouse that thought he was going to be eaten by a 50 foot tall barn cat. Only to discover it was a combine. I felt especially silly, since I have been camping and sleeping in my truck for the last month and I am not a really a city mouse.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 3:48 PM
I really did not enjoy Phoenix very much. I met a really neat lady (Alida) that I couch surfed with but the city really felt empty. I will say that I appreciated the experience of learning to get around by using public transportation and that I was a little embarrassed when I had to be told (yelled at) how to get off of the bus. Apparently, some busses you must push on the doors to exit. I guess the source of my disgruntlement stems from the lack of local businesses (especially coffee shops). I walked around downtown Phoenix for hours and really only found one descent cafe. I really found myself very alone in the world and a dearth of interesting people to talk to. It is really hard to believe that I had that struggle because I can usually find something to talk about with almost anyone. It was very interesting that those that I did talk to all reported that they hated living in Phoenix. I did see Scottsdale with Alida and we had a wonderful afternoon looking at shops, having good conversations, and checking out the art. Even though there wasn’t anything horrible that happened I would still venture to say that I will not be rushing to get back to Phoenix.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 2:14 PM
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
The ad in the paper read Gender-Free _______ Dancing, 7:30-11:00 at the Methodist Church 4th Street, near Park Ave. Or so I thought. What I missed was the BLANK. Filled in that blank and missed by mind was the word Contra. For those that do not know Contra is
A caller, usually working with a group of live musicians, guides new and experienced dancers alike through a variety of dances.
A dancer and his or her partner dance a series of figures, or moves, with each other and with another couple for a short time. They then repeat the same figures with another couple, and so on. The figures are similar to those of old-time square dancing. The figures are combined in different ways for each different dance.
The caller teaches each dance before it is actually done to the music. This gives everyone an idea of what to expect so the movements can be easily executed. The caller leads the dances while they are being done to music, so dancers are able to perform each movement to the music.
Well I did not know what contra dancing was but now have experienced a night of Contra Dancing. AND I HAD AN AMAZING TIME!!! It was so much fun; the people were great and helped me learn to do this. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and at times laugh uncontrollably with one another. It was people from all walks of life homosexual, straight, bi-sexual, women, transgender, men, young-old, graceful-not graceful (ME), boisterous-quiet. It absolutely did not matter what your orientation was or how you identified. You were welcomed and had absolutely no problems finding a dance partner. (AS IT SHOULD BE)
Somewhere along the way I realized that this trip was no longer about the places I would visit or the school I might attend. I realized the real journey lied in the conversations that I have already had and the ones have not yet had. Looking back on the last month, I do not simply remember the way a city looked or the way the sand felt on my feet. I remember those things through to conversations I have had with others. I remember the Satalite Café in Albuquerque through meeting Lisa (The nice lady with an enormous pile on Christmas cards)and the homeless men and women seeking refuge from the cold. My experiences have been shaped by getting to know , Tiara (my ex that now has become a very dear friend) and her partner Trish and their beautiful twins. I remember Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) through Port (the nice man that found us a pizza joint and his warm smile and unwavering friendship), the beach vendors and the man who lied to try and sale me something. I remember the way the sand felt beneath my feet through the long walks on the beach and conversations with Karen, Tony, Miriha, and Gene. Finding connection with people has truly been the highlight of this journey. Sharing ideas, being present and finding ways to connect with a variety of people has allowed room for my graduate education of life. I am still in Graduate school and see this as my field training or internship. So I must express my deepest thanks to all those that I have spoken with along the way. You have all been my esteemed teachers.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 1:16 PM
She yells “If I wasn’t completely convinced that you were born in America YOU would be spending the night in Jail. NO two nights.” Imagine the tone of you are the dumbest American I have ever met. Yes I was concerned about going into Mexico without my birth Certificate or Passport, and Yes I had just been to Nogales and my driver’s license and it was fine. But clearly this day I deserved to be in Jail and by her generosity I would be able to re-enter the U.S. I do believe this was my first experience with a dominatrix. All she needed was a little leather and a whip. She also ask, “What I was bringing back from Mexico?” I responded with, “a Mexican blanket and some sea shells.” She asked where the sea shells were I showed her and then she says, “Well… you can’t have those.” As if that were my punishment for being so stupid. She called me an idiot for making everyone wait on me. I think when she was sure she had berated me enough to make me feel like a smashed ant, she could let me go. I was completely scared and completely submissive. I am so glad to have had that experience because it makes such a good story that I will never forget. This concludes my short stay in Mexico.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 12:41 PM
Thursday, January 7, 2010
If only I had a welcome mat. There have been many things that I have learned so far on this journey and many things I have started to question about the way I live. I have packed most of my belongings into my Toyota Tacoma (USS Tacoma) and set out on a journey around the country. This started as an idea about finding a graduate program and has morphed into way more than that. I am starting to question my belongings and what a person really needs to live and be comfortable. In this case, I am finding that less is more. Meaning the less I have the more comfortable I am. Even reducing things down to a Tacoma (not a large pick-up), presented me with the need to yet again purge some of my belongings.
This morning I woke up in a parking lot outside of a fire station in Tucson, AZ. I was angry at the amount of things in my vehicle. I have more clothes than I can wear, no room for my dirty clothes, and just so much stuff. So today, I am once again, reducing my belonging to something more manageable. I am reorganizing yet again because I have to find a way to more easily access my cooking equipment and food, put away my dirty laundry, and make room for sleeping in my truck cab with loosing things.
I think this trip is the best thing I have ever done. This is so life changing and maybe one of my greatest challenges. I am faced with being alone, making my own decisions (independent of guilt), forging for my basic needs (food, water, safety, shelter, and a morning bathroom), and finding the peace within.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 11:12 AM
I think some think I am fearless in my adventures but that could not be further from the truth. White knuckles, tight chest, and a lump in my throat all characterize my physoilogical response to my fears of crossing the border into Mexico. I have been to a few border towns before but have never driven in another country before. I have often even thought thought that I hadn’t really been to another country before because I had only been to border towns. This time was certainly different because I was driving and leaving the saftey of the US border. Driving also meant that I needed to know where I was going and that there were rules of the road to follow. That incidently, I DID NOT KNOW! This time I felt as if I were in a strange land. I could not read the signs and some how the spanish that I had mastered (in my mind) was not going to help me here. Which amounts to getting a beer, a shot of tequilla and finding the bathroom. However, what did help sooth my nerves was finding the similarities in my environment and starting to figure out what the road signs were saying. They were really saying the same things American signs say “Do Not Pass”, “Go this fast”(in kilometers though) and “someplace is over there.” The senery was similar to that of southern Arizona, then seemed to shift the further southwest we travelled. I recognized the volcanic rock amidst the plains of sand which, really made it feel like I was traveling to another state rather than another country. I started to relax until we came across Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point), Mexico. Then I started feeling a tightness in my chest, a lump in my throat, and white knuckles all over again. There were a lot of street signs and changing speed limit signs, and just a shit load of signs that I can’t read. Once there was a sign for a stop light which I understood until I got to the light that was blinking yellow and red. What the ---- do I do with that?
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 10:50 AM
Happy new year to all my friends, family and people that I have not met yet; best wishes to all of you in the upcoming year. I hope your new year’s resolutions are kept manageable and outrageous at the same time. I started this year off being thankful for all that I have and the amazing opportunity that I currently have. This year I have made 3 important resolutions.
#1 This year I want to take the most kaleidoscopic trip ever.
#2 Barrowing from last year’s resolution Do What Ever Makes Me Happy.
#3 Wrestle with my insecurities and vulnerability.
Thank you to all of you who have been supportive of my endeavors, who have cautioned me when I might be acting a little crazy, and those continually believe in me.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 10:27 AM