that bottom photo changed my life


     Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, offers the unique sight of a complete Mercury spacecraft. Many of these spacecraft are available for viewing all over the United States, but this one is special because it did not fly.

     During the course of a Mercury flight, several parts of the spacecraft are jettisoned and not recovered, including the retro package. This piece of equipment is visible here in my photos as the striped metal object strapped to the bottom of the heat shield. This small cluster of solid rocket motors was responsible for the safe return of the astronaut from space, making just enough thrust to change the shape of the orbit so that it would meet the atmosphere and use aerobraking for a ballistic reentry.

     If this package had not fired properly, the astronaut would be faced with the dire situation of being stuck in orbit. Fortunately, this never happened in real life, but it was captured in the fanciful novel “Marooned” by Martin Cardin, in which a NASA astronaut was stranded on orbit after his retro rockets failed. When the book was released in 1964, it was so influential that it actually changed procedures for Mercury’s follow on program Project Gemini, adding more redundancy to the spacecraft’s reentry flight profile.

     Alan Shepard, the first American in space and later Apollo 14 moonwalker, didn’t fail to notice that there was a leftover spacecraft at the end of the Mercury program. He lobbied for a second Mercury flight in this ship, speaking personally to both NASA Administrator James Webb and President John Kennedy about this flight. He told them his idea of an “open ended” mission in which they would keep him in orbit indefinitely until there was a malfunction or consumables began to run out. Webb stated (and Kennedy agreed) that it was more important to shelve the Mercury spacecraft in order to jump start the more capable Gemini Program. Thus, we now have this whole Mercury on display for future generations to appreciate.

If anyone ever questions whether or not transgender surgeries are necessary, I will show them this photo. I was pre top surgery on the left and you can see, so easily, just how uncomfortable and downright miserable I was in my skin. I couldn’t even stand up straight. Then you have this photo of myself that was taken less than two weeks ago and I’m an entirely different man. I’m confident and comfortable in my skin. These months counting down to phalloplasty have felt like the longest months of my life. But I know that after this coming surgery my life is going to change in ways I can’t even imagine.

DNA vs. Appearance - What determines your race in society?

What do you do and where are you accepted when you come out looking different than what your DNA suggests? Does DNA and family become irrelevant based on ones skin color or social experiences?

To get started, let’s take someone like alternative/pop artist Halsey for example. I’ve noticed she’s becoming a popular thing, so why not. This is Halsey:

Her mother is white. Her father is black. This is what she came out looking like. I’m gonna touch on a lot different things in this post. Get a bowl of popcorn ready. Let’s get into it.

Keep reading


So today (5/7/16) is the 4 year anniversary of the day I met Johnny Depp. I just thought I’d share my story, since my original posts got deleted.

I didn’t sleep at all the night before. I stayed up in our hotel room, watching Alice in Wonderland on my phone, and just shaking with excitement at the fact that I was going to see Johnny Depp. We woke up at 5 or 6 am. that morning. People were already beginning to line up on the streets. Running to the sidewalk across from the Chinese Theatre, I set up camp with my Jack Sparrow blanket, and waited. For 13 hours, I waited.

When Johnny arrived, I was ecstatic. I was the only one there with a poster that I had made the week before saying “If Johnny’s fans are his bosses, I’m the CEO.” There were thousands of screaming fans by this point. People were pushing me up against the barricades and shouting. Everyone wanted to see Johnny. I remember, as Johnny started signing autographs at the end of the line, wondering if he was going to even get to me. I was just one person in a sea of thousands of people. As Jerry got closer, though, my mom got his attention. She told him we had made this trip down for my birthday, and that Johnny meant the world to me. Jerry sorta smirked and gave my mother a nod, and within a minute, he was pulling Johnny down the line to see me. 

I don’t even remember what I said to him, to be honest. My adrenaline was so high. I screamed something about it being my birthday, and how much I loved him, and how much he meant to me. And he looked at me. Through those blue tinted sunglasses, he really looked at me. And he smiled. After signing my autograph, he put his right hand on my left cheek, and said “Happy birthday, sweetheart.” He skipped the movie that evening. We all know Johnny doesn’t like watching himself on screen, and I remember laughing as his bodyguards tried to pull him inside once it was starting. He refused to go, and wanted to continue signing autographs. He was outside signing autographs for almost 2 hours. 

And that’s just about all I remember. I was a sobbing mess after that. I called up my dad on the phone and thanked him a million times. I typed up some nonsense post on Facebook with my shaking hands. I stared at my autograph for hours that night, and was careful not to wash my face when I went to shower.

And now, 4 years later, I’m still a massive fan. I know Johnny doesn’t even remember me, but for those 5 seconds, I felt special to him. Just thinking about it makes my heart soar. The thing that sets Johnny apart from any other celebrity is that he truly cares for his fans. He has such a big heart, and he knows that just a few seconds of his time can make a phenomenal difference in someone’s life.

So, I guess, what it’s taken me this long to say, is Thank you, Johnny. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you for looking at my 15 year-old gremlin face, and showing me kindness. You changed my life, and I’m so grateful.

- A Red-Dusted Planet , by @onewasturning  : Harry finally makes it to the edge of the pool where Louis is almost curled up in on himself laughing in the shallow water. He wants to feel annoyed, his competitive side rankled at the unfair and unjust tactics used by his opponent, but it’s like—  The light refracts off the water and moves across Louis’ skin, darkening the ink of his tattoos, and he looks beautiful, dazzling, still that god laughing down on all the destruction he’s caused. And Harry’s heart is caught somewhere in his breathless chest, like it’s become tangled amidst the veins and arteries whilst trying to make room for wet boys on warm, summery days. Or, a one-night stand in a small town in Australia turns into a weekend that Harry could’ve never predicted with a boy he may never forget.

Larry travel AU (38k), well written, with great smut (bottom Louis). And now I low key want to book some tickets to Australia.

- Now I’ve Got You In My Space , by  stylesforstiles : Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson almost met on X-FactorThey meet on Dancing With The Stars instead.

Larry famous AU (9.6k) : Dancer Louis and singer Harry, fuck yeah !! Barely smutty .

- Through the Wall (Through the Wall) , by taggiecb : The prompt “We live in adjacent apartment and one day I accidentally knocked a hole in the wall and into your living room.  I’m really sorry oh my God you’re naked” AU .

Larry Neighbour AU (5k) : fun !! great smut (and I don’t say only because of Wall Sex)(but WALL SEX) (bottom Louis)

- Your Best Line Ever , by green_feelings (aka @sadamenoito) : University AU, in which Harry has a terrible job and lies about his name to drunk people, Louis is one of the drunk and has to move out of his flat, Liam shaves his hair because he fights with Zayn, Zayn protects Liam from creepy stalkers and Niall always has a solution, because he knows just about every person relevant!

Larry Uni roomates AU (55k) : very well written, full of pining and miscommunications and boys who don’t express their feelings. Barely smutty.

- The Summertime, The Butterflies, All Belong To Your Creation , by @c-e-d-dreamer : When Louis decides to help out a lost little girl at the park, he never expected it would lead him to finding his home.

Larry single dad Harry AU (11k) : oh this is cuuuuuute. Also I need more fics with Louis and Harry signing. Definitely.

- I’ll show you my heart., by anonymous : You fookin prick! Look where you are going!” He shouts, cold tea soaking through his clothing, sticking to his skin.   “Watch where you’re going pal, I have work to do,” the person says back.   Louis notices the professional camera hanging around his neck, and some keys dangling by his pocket. Along with his obnoxious demeanor, it more than enough for Louis to figure out that he is a paparazzi. Those assholes have no emotion, all they care about is to get a picture.    “Yeah sure, you call stalking people and invading their privacy a job?” Louis spits back. His day had been going great up until he was harassed by this asshole, and now he is going to be even later running back home and changing his t-shirt.  an AU where Harry is a famous celebrity and Louis is minding his own business in the streets when he gets knocked over by paparazzi trying to get photos of Harry.

Larry famous-not famous AU (30k), with a closeted Harry, a secret relationship, a coming-out and some smut (bottom Louis)

- Your Name Is Tattooed On My Heart , by  mcpofife : Louis is ready to find the love of his life, but first he has to stop falling for the punk rocker next door. 

Larry Punk Harry! Neighbour AU (86k) , aka one of my fav fic ever. I just realised I haven’t re-read it for months and never rec it properly before, so here we are. I love it. BFF to lovers, florist Harry, pining, angsty, amazing smut (bottom Louis) : it’s perfect. Also : FATE.

- Café Noir , by iheartallthefandoms : : Harry Styles is secretly a world famous writer of bodice rippers. He is struck by writer’s block and he craves late night coffee. Luckily, there is a little café that provides both inspiration and a delicious caramel macchiato. While pretending to write his next story, Harry finds a new muse and winds up falling for one of the baristas: bright, cheerful Louis Tomlinson.

Larry coffee shop AU (4k) ; smut writer Harry, I love the idea !!! Barely smutty , and really nice.

All my fic recs are in the masterpost !

Usually I take these Tumblr selfies 3.2 thousand times before liking one, but meh, here I am! 

In a photo and on Tumblr. 

With a solid zit on my face, but that’s neither here nor there. 

What’s here is that I just used my Fitbit for the first time today and holy moly, it’s so cool.   My brother-in-law was traveling for a few days, and as I helped out a lot with Lily for a few days, he asked me what I wanted as a gift to say thank you, and I chose a Fitbit.   I can totally see how they get addictive.  Do you have Fitbit? Should we be friends? I haven’t quite figured out how to “compete” yet, but definitely want to join some walking competitions. 

Christmas is in full swing, despite not feeling that Christmasy yet.  I’ve had so many people over to my Christmas-blinged-out apartment lately, that it’s hard to keep track.  Tomorrow I have about 15 people coming over for a shingdig, so yea…  lots to do for that. 

In other news I have been power organizing lately. I mean seriously containers-label-making-giving-away-throwing-out organizing. It’s refreshing, and has made me feel a lot better about life in general.  Also what’s made me feel better, getting a vacuum cleaner for my 31st birthday. My apartment is all wood so I’ve always swept, swiffered, and mopped, but the vacuum cleaner has changed my life (especially as I have radiators), and I am loving my apartment these days. 

Every drawer and cupboard in my apartment is organized now, and in easy-to-find labelled containers. Heaven!

(This photo is not staged at all, which is lucky because you can see my sweet sweet new vacuum cleaner bottom left). 

Technically I’m off work right now until the New Year, but I have a fair bit to do at work, so I think I may go into the office this week - y’know, to get ahead and start the New Year on top of things.  Work has been good - lots of festivities with birthdays and Christmas and we had a *huge* presentation last Monday in an effort to raise money, and WAHOO *first pump,* we did. Which is especially awesome knowing that going into the Christmas break.  We also did a gingerbread house competition at work and my team… NAILED IT. 

Or Christmas party had a magical spread. Cue the song, “So this is heaven”

And a magical Christmas in the city view. 

I have a date next Wednesday. With a guy that I am looking forward to meeting. But we’re totally at the we’ve-spoken-too-much-pre-meeting-and-now-have-expectations thing. Ugh.  Not too sure yet what we’re going to do, perhaps the Toronto Christmas market. Or ice-skating.  Amazingly, I’m not too nervous… yet.

Every part of my body hates online dating and every night I battle with myself not to just delete it all. But…  I have become convinced that online dating is a numbers game, and the time and effort needs to be put in to get anywhere. Right now I’m on (are ya ready?!): Bumble, Tinder, OKCupid, EHarmony.  Yup. That’s a lot of profiles and a lot of men and a lot of time.  So far OkCupid (which is free) has been the best one. Tinder is snappy (which I like), Eharmony sucks, and Bumble (like Tinder, but girls message first) I am convinced it’s filled with fake profiles. The guys on it all look like models, and then at my last Project Sunshine meeting guy friends said the same of girls. 

Speaking of Project Sunshine, we had our last 2015 meeting last Monday. I’m on the “Young Patrons Circle” area of Projects Sunshine, which is young professionals trying to raise money for the charity, but for this meeting head office was there, and they want to shake things up by asking that each member raise $1,000 over the year. Umm, yea. This didn’t sit that well for me, as last year I was the Co-Chair, and holy batman ballz, it was SO time consuming, so then to raise money to be on the committee, well yea… Anwyho, I voiced my concerns quite boldly, and seemed to get a lot of support, but it’s still up in limbo the structure for next year. When everyone went for drinks after the meeting, they cheered to me which made me happy, and then someone also mentioned I should be the Director next year, which I think I just may… we shall see. 

Project Sunshine also gave me this Christmas gift, which I absolutely love: 

Oh, before I forget *pats self on back* for Christmas gift tags this year I made ornaments for friends. 

They were a stupid amount of work, but I’m happy with how they came out, and they seem to be a hit. Here’s the one my sister made me: 

I saw the Phantom of the Opera on Thursday. *slow bloody clap*  I had never seen it before and actually didn’t even know the story, but bravo. Truthfully I am a ballet > theatre type of girl. (True story, I cried during Swan Lake when she died, because the dancing was just that beautiful.) But the Phantom was fantastic - the set, the quadruple threats - acting, opera, singing, and acting, I just can’t even, it was SO good.  

What else?  Christmas, work, apartment, dating, organizing, project sunshine.  I feel like I’ve covered nearly everything. Except, oh weight (NEVER GETS OLD)… Weight. 

Weight Watchers changed their program. Hmm. HMM. I’m trying, I really am, but it’s sooooo much harder on this new system.  What I always thought was *wonderful* about WW was that it allowed you to still live your life. Don’t mind if I do grab a 3 point chocolate popsicle, but now that popsicle is 7 - 9pts, which is a HUGE chunk when you get 28.  Hmm. HMMM. My weight is still hovering within the same three or four pounds. But let’s be honest: I’m also half assing it. 

OHHHHHH! Guess what! I signed up for a 12 week bootcamp starting January 5th. It’s for beginners, and nothing too dramatic, and for woman only. It’s twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday, and I think it’s exactly what I need. 

Also, I signed up for the Harry Spring  5 miler (8k) on Saturday April 9, 2016. A RACE YOU GUYS!! I think 8km goal is a nice one for me, as I’m SOOOO unfit right now, so it allows me to start small. 

And, this is exciting, there is a very strong chance I will actually be doing that hike I spoke about in my previous post, the Tour du Mont Blanc hike. So you can just colour me excited for that. 

I’m sure I’m missing lots of things, as life has been busy and crazy and wonderful and lazy, but I feel like I’ve noted it all. Happy Festive Sunday my friends. 


On December 22, 2012 I met my saviours Black Veil Brides! From a very early age I dealt with a very strong self-hate. Around the time my hate really started, I found BVB, and since that very day they helped me in so many ways. Their lyrics discouraging me from doing any harm to myself. I would think if these five men got through what they did and can say that “Things get better,” then I should believe them. Their music being the background to my life, I got through some rough times. Meeting them was the most nerve racking moment of my life, I was so uncomfortable in my own skin, I instantly felt stupid. My aunt had to encourage me to even start speaking, and once I did it came out so weak I wasn’t sure they even heard me, until Ashley looked up at me and smiled after I said, “Your guys’ music helped me so much,” to which he replied, “Really, that’s really cool.” He actually looked like he meant it too, then I got to the end of the line and talked to Andy and was in complete awe of him. I take my picture (After I completely made a fool of myself. Ashley was looking at me and growling and I like swooned and unthinkingly blurted out,  “Ashley I love you” and CC laughed…so embarrassing lol) I actually had the guts to ask if I could get a hug, and I got sandwiched in between Ashley and Andy in the group hug and was so happy. I could have died then without even seeing Legion of the Black and been okay with it. Bottom line that was the best day of my life, and I wouldn’t change anything about it (except how I came out in the photo). I love BVB so much, and I’ll be seeing them in November so this best day of my life will be having some competition in the future.

this is definitely a little bit more daring than the typical photo I’d post of myself. I’m not even sure I’m 100% comfortable with it, but that doesn’t negate my desire to throw this out there. as someone whose confidence remained at rock bottom and whose self-perception gave way to one hell of a battle against an eating disorder throughout most of my life, I’m proud to say I am finally on my way to feeling more comfortable with my body, and with myself, than I believe I ever have. 

I’ve been saying 2014 is the year of changes, and with each day it is only further validated. my own mental health is something I have never been able to wholly conquer, but the seas have calmed and the darkness I was once engulfed in feels as if it has almost fully dissipated. who I see in the mirror now is not the fragile and terrified girl I once was, but a warrior. I know who I am and what I am worth. I know and accept my past, and am beginning to welcome the fresh adventures of the future. I am no longer closed off to life, but reveling in it. 

so sure, this is just another selfie. but, when it comes down to it, don’t all photos of oneself embody the same message? that we’re proud to be who we are. that, even for just a fleeting moment, we feel good. and in the face of a world of constant critique and a society of young adults struggling with their own self-discovery and worth, even just one single moment of contentment can go a long way. 

so here’s to where I’ve been, here’s to where I’m going.

and here’s to who I am.