It has been mentioned, in passing on my site here and on a couple of forums that I planned to move to California. This was not a snap decision (not exactly anyway), but rather something I was planning to do for at least a year now.
This is the story of how I’ve gotten here, what’s happened so far, and why.
(Note: names have been changed to respect privacy)
Plans in the Shadows
I had known Allison for a few years, although we really hadn’t gotten to actually know each other until a couple of years ago. I had wanted to leave West Virginia for many years at this point. I had had visions, demons screaming at me in the mirror and a compulsively strong desire to just run away. I always ignored these, as I had no plan and I would of rathered not get in a really bad situation.
What if I became homeless? I would ask myself. For some time I planned to travel as a wanderer but things never worked out to make that a reality. No, I was doomed to be stuck in West Virginia forever. Then Allison and I were talking one night, about our desires to escape our situations and over time what was a fantasy slowly formed into reality: move to California together.
I kept this pretty hush, my reasons for moving to California were multiple, not the least of which was economic opportunity. I hadn’t really gotten anywhere in the music scene, either a musician or audio engineer in Parkersburg or the surrounding areas. With so many people and fairly large music scenes California seemed like the perfect idea. My original plan to move after getting on disability didn’t really work, but I did manage to make part time work (at high cost to me personally) while I waited on a job transfer with the same company, out to California.
Another reason was that I noticed that in all the major towns there was a sizable Hindu population. In Bakersfield where I am as of this article, there are three, yes three Hindu temples. I’ve yet to venture to them, but it’s amazing to think I could actually become part of a Hindu community if I wanted. So seeking kinship was another reason of mine.
Allison’s reason for moving was much more direct. She was from the midwest and hated the close mindedness around her. She was transgender and wanted to escape everything around her and just live as herself as she continued to transition.
Kindered Hearts, in Darkness and Light
I myself, being transgender fully understood this. I couldn’t get anyone to even treat me unlike her. At one point, my partner who was intersexed (XXY) was approved for testosterone treatments by the same endocrinologist who’s office claimed that he “didn’t do that” and “doesn’t do hormones” (even though, that’s exactly what an endocrinologist does). I had actually planned to use my disability to pay for my transition, in the hopes I would be able to work after that. It didn’t work out, as the representative from my lawyer was not prepared at all, failing to even request the judge subpoena the appropriate records and evidence before the hearing like was the procedure (she did it DURING to a very grumpy judge who refused to).
After that, an online friend sent me money to order the hormones from a reputable online pharmacy. Thanks to him, I was able to attain a point I could manage the part time for half a year. However with no doctor over seeing my treatment, I erred on smaller dosages. I would eventually get some other medication to help with my transition from one of my actual doctors, and my psychiatrist was in support of what i was doing as my options were limited. I couldn’t afford the out of pocket expense of seeing someone let alone traveling 100+ miles to see them regularly. By contrast, California has laws protecting transgender treatment and Medi-cal covers transgender care. It was a no-brainer for me.
Me and Allison had more in common than just being transgender women. I came across her first on a religious debate and discussion forum. I would later learn we like the same kind of music, particularly electro-industrial. More importantly, she was a Luciferian, and just the right kind to mesh well with me as a Satanist. I considered myself a Luciferian as well, in terms of expression. So all in all we were pretty similar in many regards.
The Edge at Which It Changed
What got me, working at my job was not the work itself, but the petty nonsense. People, not even those in discussions, complaining about things overheard in the lunchroom, or people treating me differently because I was a transwoman transitioning. Even though 70% of the time customers percieved me to be female, there were some coworkers that just got tense about me. Eventually it wouldn’t be so bad when I started to use the women’s restroom. I can’t recall anytime I got a weird look in the women’s room, as opposed to several times a day in the men’s.
That didn’t mean I was safe outside of work. There was a time I came out of the restroom and three white men in hoodies saw me and looked in disgust. Later those three men would follow me down the road when I had to walk home and scream “fag” and “fucker” at me as they would circle around. They later parked about half a block in front of me, hoping to “catch” me I suppose.
Even a day before I left I had another experience which confirmed my decision to move, after I had purchased my ticket. I was at the Vienna mall, and I figured to use the men’s room as I hadn’t shaved in a couple of days. Apparently I still looked very female, as when I was at the mirror in the men’s room, tying up my hair after washing my hands an older man entered.
He immediately stopped and stared at me in the mirror intensely. I turned around and asked him “can I help you with something?” He just stared, never blinking. After some seconds, I asked “do you need something?” and he took a step forward, still unblinking. A few more seconds, awkward as hell, I started to look him up and down and size him up. I figured A) he will do nothing and is just trying to intimidate me, or B) he’s working up the courage to do something. I played it off as “then I’ll just go, I don’t know what your problem is” as I walk around him and leave. Inside I was terrified. Naturally the mall security did nothing about it.
The Talk that Convinced Me
These events echo in my mind, as I think about what my manager told me; “who cares that you are trans?” It was said in a follow up meeting to a previous one about, well that petty crap. People eavesdropping then complaining about what they heard and misheard. The critical point though was when he told me that the company I was working for “would never be enough”. He asked me what I wanted to do, and I told him be an audio engineer. I have most of the skills, just not the gear to start, is what I tried to tell him (he didn’t fully absorb that). He ended up trying to form a ‘plan’ with me about where I would go with the company (such as a supervisor role) and such as a day job to help attain that goal.
In my mind I just wanted the transfer to have some security when moving, but I still had over a month to wait, I didn’t know where I was going to need to transfer to as it kept changing, and I increasingly felt unsafe in my own town.
After some nonsense with another coworker who made my job just beyond difficult, I decided. I would quit, take what money I had, and take the bus to California. Allison was already ahead of me out there with family friends!
What could go wrong?
A lot Wrong, but a lot Right
Greyhound sucks, it really does, but that’s an article for another time. A lot of shitty things happened on my bus ride, but some good things like meeting a fellow Satanist. Perhaps the best thing that happened was meeting David. David was from Bakersfield, and we helped each other through the nightmare that was Vegas and the LA station. David would be a huge help later, as I will explain.
By the time I had arrived, about 80 hours later by bus, and 20 hours longer than I should of, Allison met me. I knew the apartment didn’t and probably wouldn’t of been sorted out. I had no job, and after the trip a little over 500 dollars left. I gave her most of my stuff. I had a plan, kind of. I was running on instinct and the graces of my gods. I knew it rarely rained and was super dry, so sleeping outside would most of the time be doable unlike back in West Virginia.
We goofed around in town some, and she finally said goodbye. At one point, I talked with a homeless man, giving him five dollars to tell me about what places to avoid sleeping at. I could tell I talked to the wrong person he wasn’t the most helpful (or understandable). I started to explore, and try to figure out the place with just a backpack of some clothes and my laptop. I had signed up with Planet Fitness for easy 24/7 shower access, and with that I just wandered around, while double checking google maps and relying on what I had studied of Bakersfield before.
Then I met Kevin. I was at a dollar store, and saw a man kneeling down as if resting and eating a sand which. My “homeless” sense went off, as well as “this guy is different” and I struck up a conversation to see what I could glean from him. He offered to show me around town and I hesitantly agreed to maybe. He went into the store to get something and right as I was about to leave, he came out.
He told me about the roving gangs of high and drunk people, well petty thieves, who would rob the homeless. We eventually went to a Starbucks where I could charge my phone and laptop. He introduced me to a couple of people, and we exchanged Facebooks and numbers. He gave me a ton of advice on living on the streets in Bakersfield, and then some.
He also warned me that I shouldn’t travel with just a backpack like I was, and not sleep outside until I knew the town better. I was around California Avenue and parts of it were kind of sketchy. I took his advice and stayed in Motel 6 for the night. He offered to pay me to let him use the shower there, but I said it was the least I could do as he had helped me so much. He also offered to show me and my friend around town, telling us where to avoid and everything.
Make Friends, and then Make More
The next day he made good on that promise. We got a very detailed lay of Bakersfield and Oildale, where to avoid, where was good. Because of him I ended up mostly being where I am now, sleeping, eating and socializing. We also found our second pick of an apartment if this current one never goes through. Because of him, I probably avoided getting robbed or staying in a bad part of town.
While we rode around me and Allison got to learn more about Kevin. He had told me some of his story before, but it was a bit’ more detailed this time. He had a big house, a business, and was very successful as a racer. I even saw some of the footage of one of his races in the past. Things changed for him when cancer and a divorce happened. He told me he had been homeless since about May of this year, and set out with a few grand until that ran out, but even then he didn’t panhandle but a couple of times. Although, as far as I understood, he still has some assets and money, he’s having someone else manage most of it as he doesn’t want to burn through it all. In the end Kevin had a blast helping us, saying it was good to do something “normal” again. We talked about music too and gear, and such, and just hanged out for a little bit as well.
Later that day after I settled in centering myself around my current part of Bakersfield, I called up David to let him know what was going on. He somewhat offered me a place to stay but I said I didn’t want to intrude, but mostly wanted to use his address for my job applications. He happily agreed and gave it to me. So because of the chance of meeting him, I’ve been able to not appear homeless on my job applications (as unfortunate as jobs are at discriminating against hiring the homeless). With that and Planet Fitness’s Showers, I was set to not even seem homeless to most people.
I made other friends as well, or at least am on friendly terms with them. Some of them shady, some of them less so. I know enough to be on good terms but not get too close. The main guy who “runs” the area I’m usually in can be pretty tough. He even drives out predators who prey on homeless women. He even gave me advice on how to chain up my bike so it wouldn’t get stolen.
I made another friend, Anthony who worked at a department store who told me a person or two to avoid, where to avoid being (as even this side of town has an under belly, but not as bad). Perhaps the best advice he gave me was a good spot to sleep, which I’ve tried out. It’s so far out there I don’t even see another soul, and it’s one of the spots I frequent now. He encouraged me to apply to the store he works at, and put in a good word for me with someone and advised me what managers to talk to for my best shot.
Then I met Andrew, who worked at Starbucks (a different one from the one I met Kevin’s friends at). He actually spooked me when getting his bike from beside me. We talked a few times, and I tried to keep it secret that I was homeless. He was very respectful about me being transgender and overall a very nice guy. As that Starbucks became my kind of “home base” for the early morning and late evenings.
Today, the day I write this article of all days, he was kind enough to replace my inner tubes on my bicycle. In the morning I had biked several miles from my sleeping spot outside of town, and by now my bike had a lot of stuff on it. I got disoriented, still hadn’t had breakfast and took a wrong turn. It wasn’t until I ran over glass that I realized this, ran over glass twice blowing out my spare inner tube i had just used to fix the first time it happened. At least I think that’s how they blew, not sure.
God Watching Below
Without Andrew, or Kevin or David or Anthony I would of been screwed. I kept somehow meeting the right people at the right time. I keep saying that “I’m running on instinct, and feel as if Dark Forces are watching me from Below” as a kind of pun but I think it’s true. I believe that the demons on the mirror was a manifestation of HaSatan itself telling me what to do… and I’m finally obeying my Dark Lord mauhaha okay but really I think this is something I should of done long ago, but i just wasn’t maybe fully ready to? I’m not getting any younger!
At night, I’ve all but two nights hanged one of those little om wall hangings meant to be by or above the door for protection and auspiciousness… I forgot their name. I didn’t do this the last two nights. The first night I felt more tired than I should of, and know a spirit visited me and last night I had a very vivid nightmare in which my sister was in trouble. There was some crazy plot with the end of the world, insane black/green storm clouds and it was only won when I and others in the dream started using a “light attack” spell done in Satan’s name that my Nana showed me in a previous dream, after her passing. I’ve since made note to not sleep without that hanging again above my head.
There is a Druga temple in town, and it’s on the good side of town here. I do plan to visit it at some point. Us Shaivites worship Shakti as well, and I would love to bask in the glory of a Kali idol. Perhaps I could make some more connections and friends there as well. I’ve been wanting to make more of a connection with the Mother for some time, and it may be my chance there.
I always carry a few of my books with me. I decided on what I deemed the “most important” spiritually, which includes Swami Bhaskarananda’s “The Essentials of Hinduism“, two translations of the Shiva Sutras (this one and this one) and Venus Satanas’ “Spiritual Satanist Prayerbook“. I’ve though about carrying some other books, but I’d rather they stay safe with Allison (along with most of my other stuff) as they are not really necessary. I could even probably do without Bhaskaranada’s book but I like to keep it handy when I get questions and don’t recall something historical or about other Hindu sects.
Money and General Moving Issues
The biggest challenge I’ve had so far is that financially things didn’t quite go as planned. I didn’t sell stuff I was to sell (a buyer or two didn’t show up) and my bike had totally broken down by the time I moved. It wouldn’t of been so bad, but because I had reported earnings from November and my last paycheck hitting at the start of October, for some reason the Californian government department over seeing medicaid and food stamps out me a good bit out on an appointment ( I won’t get in until the 29th! And who knows until I get my cards!). So eating has… well let’s say until I figured out a place far out enough, eating has been kind of expensive particularly since sometimes you don’t want to appear homeless and it’s hard to open a can of food in the middle of town.
And well getting around, from the gym to the good part of town to job interviews and really anywhere was impossible without a bike. So I finally caved and bought a bike as it wasn’t doable to figure out a junker in the meantime. Combined with that motel stay, and other misc costs I didn’t realize would be there to live successfully as homeless here. An example is I caved on a sleeping bag after the second night, despite it not getting that cold, seems laying still sleeping your core temperature drops. The gym membership did a number too.
All in all, after all of that, I’m basically totally broke now. I’m still waiting on one of these several jobs I’ve already applied for. I got my amp to busk some but seems all the parks here never have outlets and it’s not exactly easy to find power to do it on the street. I was fixing a bluetooth speaker of mine to act as a stand in.
A thing I want to do is check the classifieds again for some oddjobs to hold me over, just anything. The *last* thing I want to do is panhandle. I’ve had various ideas for what to do, and I recently learned I got a bit’ more time before we would get in the apartment so I’m in the clear if I get a job very soon. Hoping I can get one of these places, they all have open positions after all! I’m putting in usually 1-2 applications a day because I’m a little picky, knowing my issues.
I’ve also touched with the local LGBT center to get an idea of where to see doctors, but before my medi-cal is sorted out, it’s kinda meh to try too much. I have about two months of estrogen, maybe a month of spiro and my DHT blocker and a bit over a month of my bipolar medication (although I don’t take the full dose often as i also use it as a sleep aid and it doesn’t affect me negatively to do this, in my experience, so long as I take some of it).
Welp, I guess that’s it. It’s a huge article, about 500 to 1,500 more than I tend to aim for. Ha. Oh, also, if you got this far… big things are happening soon… I’ll be in the next issue of The Imperishable Star as one of the two guest writers! It comes out on Halloween, my article will be the last in it as the longest one (it’s a behemoth at about 6,500 words).
And well, with that… keep posted for updates.