Tag Archives: gofundme

Without: A Journey in Living “Off the Grid” (The Beginning)

Off the grid is a term often used to describe a style of living without being connected to utilities provided by a business, corporation or co-op. There are a lot of people in the United States and elsewhere in the world that live in this manner, some by choice and others not so much. When you live and grow up in a country like the United States, it is expected that you have things such as electricity, running water whenever you turn the tap on, and even cable television and internet.

In some cases, it is expected to have central heat and air, with air conditioning units and wood burning stoves or kerosene heaters being considered nearly barbaric and long out dated.

If you turn the water faucet on at my house no water will come out. If you flip the light switch on you will still be standing in darkness after the sun goes down. My cooking is done on a barbecue grill and an outdoor propane powered cookstove. The heat in the house is done with the help of a wood burning stove. My family lives completely off the grid.

 

In the middle of February the electric co-op that we had power through shut our power off without notice and refused to turn it back on unless we paid something to the tune of over $2000. This wasn’t the first time they did something like this, back around Thanksgiving they did the exact same thing. I’m sure I’ve written about both events, and the fact that the co-op has never sent us a bill with any regularity but because of laws passed that make corporations more valuable than people, people suffer.

So as a result of the co-op being the wonderful little assclowns that they are, my family has had to go off the grid. We are lucky enough to have a well, and are capable enough to draw water from the well to provide our animals, plants and ourselves with the water that we need. We have a gas powered generator now to power our computers and lights in the evenings for a while. We will be powering a well pump as soon as I can get it installed.

We’ve talked about changing over to solar power, but we don’t have the money for the set ups. We’re struggling enough as it is, and buying the generator wiped out what little savings we had.

There are times, more now than ever before, that I want to just give up. I don’t want to get up in the morning because I’m tired of the struggle. I have to keep reminding myself that there are people, and animals that depend on me to get out of bed and muddle through to day.

I’d like to start a gofundme account to raise the money for a whole house generator or a solar array, but that has never worked in the past. I don’t know enough people to make something like that work. Once again I’m reminded of how much of an outcast I am because of my disability. I have no friends or family to turn to for help. So I have to go at it alone.

I blame society for my difficulty interacting with it, but that’s a story for another time. The light will begin fading soon, lunch break is over and I have work that must be done before nightfall.

 

Quiet plea

I’m asking for help, begging really. I need to make it to my brother’s wedding in Vietnam and I need help getting there.  I’ve set up a Gofundme account but I haven’t had much luck.

I’ve shared my post on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. I’ve emailed George Takei to ask for help sharing my fundraiser, and I’ve tweeted to Misha Colins, both to no avail. Please consider sharing my fundraiser or helping if you can. It would mean the world to me and my brother, and I promise to come back with plenty of pictures and stories to share.

http://gofundme.com/yusnng

Cause And Effect

We don’t always think about the consequences of our actions at times, sometimes when we say something we don’t really mean in a heat of the moment we lose friends, or upset our family. Never did I think that the consequences of my actions would end with the severance of the relationship between me and most of my birth family.

Recently in the social media news networks the stories of children, teens and even adults coming out to their families as transgender has been making the rounds. I’m happy to say that more often than not my story has become the exception rather than the rule when it comes to these stories. Nearly ten years ago I told my family, (my parents, two brothers and sister) that I am transgender. Immediately, my younger sister distanced herself from me and avoided having anything to do with me as much as possible. My parents refused to accept that I was transgender and told me that I was just going through a phase, this was ten years ago mind you. My younger brother didn’t seem too sure how to react, but it seemed that he was indifferent on the matter.

After eight years of struggling with my parents, my gender identity and the depression and suicidal thoughts that ensued, I took the first steps to medically transition. At the time I was living with my disabled parents in a house that my wife and I put the down payment on, taking care of them, running a paper route and homeschooling my son. Things were difficult because my mother had begun to blame my wife for me being transgender. When I began to talk to my mother about legally changing my name the tension got worse. I begged her to call me an abbreviation of my birth name, which could be considered masculine. I cited reasoning that all of my other siblings were called by nicknames that were a shortening of their name and she refused, and at that point she began calling me by my full birth name. Shortly after that the name calling began, I was no longer my parent’s child but rather a “big, fat angry lesbian”. For a while she stopped talking to me altogether, it was as if I no longer existed, and she even told my younger brother that I was dead during a phone conversation that I walked in on. I can’t explain how badly that hurt, I could try but the words would fall short.

After telling my parents that I was going to finally begin my medical transition; and had found a doctor things got worse. I thought that I would help ease tension by getting a hotel room for a few days to put a little distance between my family and my parents. While the major stress of the emotional discord was gone for those few days, my parents also decided that I no longer had a home to go back to. My mother called me and informed me that I needed to come get my things because I was no longer welcome there and she was moving my younger sister in. My wife, our two children and I had nowhere to go, so we bounced from hotel to hotel for months. I ended up losing the paper route and we lost our only income.

For months we lived out of a hotel and struggled to with my transition and the disconnection from my parents. For nearly 30 years I thought of my mother as my best friend, someone that I could always turn to or talk to when I was upset and I lost that. We ended up getting an apartment with the help of my wife’s mother and were able to settle into a semi normal state for a while. Around this time my younger brother moved back from Georgia and would come visit from time to time. While he wasn’t always on cue with the correct pronouns, he did try his best. I wasn’t going to fuss at him too much because he was the only one of the family that I grew up with that was trying to accept me for who I was, not what he wanted me to be.

We ended up losing our apartment because of money trouble, no one wanted to hire someone that was transgender and had a two year unemployment space in on their resume (those two years I had spent caring for my parents as a PCA in exchange for room and board) and my wife was disabled. In order to keep our children from living on the streets or in a homeless shelter we moved across the country to live with my wife’s mother in Richmond, VA. This was two years ago, and since then I haven’t been able to see any of my birth family. My parents have changed their phone numbers and refuse to give me their new contact information. The only person that still talks to me is my younger brother. Last month he told me that he’s getting married and that I’m invited to the wedding.

I cried.

He is the only one of my brothers or sister to invite me to their wedding. When my older brother got married, while I did attend he didn’t invite me, I ended up asking him if it was okay if I went and he said he didn’t care. When my younger sister got married I wasn’t invited nor was I welcome. Now, my younger brother wants me to be there at his wedding and I’m struggling to make that happen. My biggest obstacle is funding. On June 30th I had surgery to remove my reproductive organs because of severe pain, and about two months ago I was screened for autism and I hit a lot of the markers for something at the high-functioning end of the spectrum. My therapist doesn’t specialize in autism so I’m struggling to find someone that will test an adult. I had thought that I just had extreme social anxiety, but it would seem that that isn’t the case. In addition to the now four-year unemployment gap, a disability such as autism and being transgender makes you pretty much unemployable in a “right to work” state like Virginia.

I’m still in the recovery stages of my surgery and couldn’t work even if I found a part time or piece job. I won’t be cleared for any work until August 4th at the earliest and I’d need to fly out on August 24th. Twenty days is not nearly enough time to save up enough money to make the trip, especially so because he’s getting married in Vietnam where his fiancé is from.

So I am left to reach out to anyone that will hear me and ask for help. I will need a passport, visa and a roundtrip plane ticket. My brother says that I won’t have to worry about room and board while I’m there because he’ll take care of it. My passport will cost about $210, because I’ll need it expedited, and I was told a visa would cost about $180. The flight is the biggest cost really at $1100 to $1500 roundtrip.
I am at the point now where I will do nearly anything to be able to make it to his wedding and to meet my sister-in-law to be. I’m hoping that if strangers can raise over $20,000 for a man to attend a total stranger’s wedding, I can raise $3500 to attend my brother’s wedding. I’ve started a GoFundMe campaign for anyone that would be willing to help me:

http://www.gofundme.com/yusnng

Please help me raise the funds to attend my brother’s wedding.

gofund.me/yusnng

My name is Aydan O’Connor and I am a transman. Unlike most of the stories that you see on the internet about transgender people coming out or transitioning, I lost nearly all of my birth family when I made the decision to transition. Though, if I’m going to be honest, it was a choice to live vs die rather than transition or not. In March of 2013 I chose life and started to transition medically, which is to say that I began hormone replacement therapy. This was one of the most exciting and yet devastating choices I’ve ever made in my life because while it allowed me to finally start on the path to become the person I had been inside all my life, it also meant I no long had contact with either of my parents or my siblings with the exception of my younger brother.

My parents kicked me, my fiancée (now my wife), and our two children out of a home that we had helped pay for (we were stupid enough to let them put everything in their name) and we left to live week to week in a hotel room for months. We ended up moving from Arkansas, where my parents live, to Virginia, where my wife’s mother lives, so that we would have a place to stay and not be on the streets with two children.

My wife and I are both disabled, she has fibromyalgia and I am on the autistic spectrum. I do what work I can do when I find it; however, because of the culmination of my status as a transman, my autism, and the fact that I have a now four year streak of unemployment in my work history, finding any work that I can do that is gainful is impossible. I am trying to find a business that I can run from home to bring in money, but thus far I’ve come up short. I have tried crafts, t-shirts, web design, writing, but nothing seems to be a solid job.

This is beyond frustrating for two reasons:

First, I feel like I’m a complete waste, while I do all the repairs, yard work, and other work around the house for a place to stay I don’t ever have any money of my own to contribute to the house. The hardest part of this is the fact that no matter how much I want to help; it usually ends up in a complete meltdown at jobs. Even when I try to explain to my supervisors or managers that I have severe social anxiety I’m told that I’m just using it as a crutch, and basically to get over it. So much for making accommodations for someone with a disability, it’s almost as if because the disability I have is invisible, it must not exist.

Secondly, right now this is the reason that’s causing me to want to pull out my fair and cry, my younger brother has invited me to stay with him for a month when he gets married. The only person in my birth family that has continued to keep in contact with after my transition wants me to attend his wedding and spend a month with him and his wife. The only problem is they live in Vietnam and the plane ticket alone is going to cost over $1500. My younger brother is the only one of my siblings to invite me to their wedding. (I have two older half-brothers, an older half-sister, an older brother, a younger brother and a younger sister. A grand total of seven of us, though I didn’t grow up with my half-brothers and half-sister.) He’s the only one that has tried to understand about me being transgender and work through “losing a sister” in his own way and accept me as his brother.

So this is where I break down, push my pride aside and truly beg for help rather than asking. I am begging for help with the trip to Vietnam (I won’t have to worry about housing while I’m there because I’m staying with my brother.) but I need help with the plane ticket, getting a passport and a VISA. I would be leaving towards the end of August and come back in around a month’s time. This would put me back home around the end of September or early beginning of October at the very latest. I have to be back in the US before October 10th, because it is my wife’s and I wedding anniversary.

Please, if anyone can help, I’d appreciate it more than I could ever begin to express. Words would fall short in comparison to the gratitude that I would have for anyone and everyone if this could happen. I would love nothing more than to be able to attend my little brother’s wedding and have the opportunity to see him for the first time in two years and be able to meet my new sister-in-law. I’ll be launching a teespring campaign to help as well and doing everything that I can do to raise the funds myself as much as possible.

If you can’t donate, would you please consider sharing this link around? I would be grateful beyond words. Thank you.

Aydan K. O’Connor