Just a dirty girl from the dirty south…co-parenting a baby boy in New Orleans.

What are you telling yourself?

Not too long ago one of my lovers tried to break things off with me. I use the word “tried” because what occurred was a series of reactions on my behalf to emotional triggers that had little to do with him or his attempt at communicating. He indeed was trying to have a discussion, but I was in a different reality – one that was filled with despair and a rhetoric of shame. At one point, after giving him what I would later realize was a farewell blow job, I pleaded with him through tear-filled eyes, “Is this because I’m old and fat?” In retrospect I understand that I’m simultaneously neither and both of those things, depending on what I’m telling myself at the moment.

Growing up my mother and her side of the family put a lot of value on physical form. In my memory there always seemed to be an elephant in the room, and that elephant was usually my weight or the weight of another female family member. It was ironically the first thing brought up at every family function, all of which revolved around food. My mother was the master of fat-shaming me while making me an oversized plate. I don’t know which line she used more frequently “no man wants a fat girl” or “there are starving children in Africa.” But both had the immediate effect of making me feel terribly sad and wrong.

I recently asked my cousin if she remembered the onslaught of criticism we would hear from our mothers and other female relatives. We formulated a short list: no one is going to love a woman with cellulite; no one is going to love or respect a fat woman; if a man loves a fat woman there must be something wrong with him; sit up straight, you look fat; you can’t wear that, you look fat; have you looked in a mirror today; you inherited our family arms, so no matter what you do they’ll always be flabby and disgusting; if you don’t stop eating ___, you’re going to be fat; if you let your ass get fat you’ll end up unmarried or divorced; you need to control your appetite; aren’t you embarrassed of the way you look; I’m embarrassed of how you look.  I’m sure there are more, but these were a sample of what we heard on a daily basis.

I don’t remember the first time I was meant to think there was something wrong with my body because I feel like I’ve always felt that way. I can’t remember a single time in my life when I’ve looked in the mirror and loved everything that I’ve seen. I don’t think that my mother had any idea that the things she started telling me when I was very young would continue to be the things that I tell myself decades later. I can’t imagine any parent wanting to punish their child that way.

My mother grew up in a poor Catholic family with five siblings. She was the oldest girl and dropped out of high school to join the workforce early to help provide for her family. Her first job was in a dental office where she made decent money but felt completely out of her element. The office was located in uptown New Orleans, and being a poor, uneducated girl from a working class parish, she was constantly reminded of how she didn’t fit in. Not much later a friend told her about The Playboy Club on Iberville Street in the French Quarter. She applied for the job of cocktail server and was hired immediately. Her thin frame, delicate features and hair down to her waist made her a popular employee. She was well-liked by her peers and quickly became a billard bunny, who made an enormous amount of tips at the time for playing pool with men who visited the club. There was no doubt that her physical appearance was what had afforded her this opportunity. She went from feeling like the uneducated outcast of uptown to the social butterfly of the French Quarter.

My mother was never much a drinker and was quite the hustler. She took her hard-earned money and used it to support her youngest sibling who was facing the hardships of growing up in a poor, dysfunctional family. Because of her experience, my mother wasn’t quick to value educational achievements and thoroughly believed that men would always choose looks over brains. My father would openly admit that my mother’s beauty was the first thing that drew him to her. “She was absolutely breathtaking. If you walked into a room with her on your arm, everyone would turn and stare. She was absolutely insane too, which kept things interesting.”

The other women in my mother’s family followed a similar path. None of them achieving any academic glory and all becoming heavily dependent on men to support and take care of them. I believe that if my mother had not been a lesbian, she too would have easily become dependent on my father for her whole life. Instead she divorced him and left us in New Mexico to return to her family in the South. It was during these pre-pubescent times which were split between my two parents that I remember my mother becoming extremely harsh in her judgement of me. I don’t ever remember her commenting on my brother, even when his weight and length of his hair fluctuated to unkempt degrees.

Over the years my mother criticized and embarrassed me about my size more times than I can count. These encounters had an incredible impact on the relationship I formed with my body. The majority of my life I’ve viewed my body as something that needs to be controlled and punished. I’ve flirted with exercise addiction, eating disorders, fad diets, prescribed medicines and even cosmetic surgery. I’ve been on a never-ending quest to attain the perfect form, which has drastically changed culturally over the course of my lifetime. I have been severely overweight and severely underweight. I have maintained a “healthy” body and still completely hated myself. I have worked very hard to make the world love this body because I am terrified that I will never be able to.

Through my experiences with psychedelic therapy, I have been able to attain a level of self-empathy that had escaped me for a lifetime before. With this empathy I have been able to approach myself with less frustration and more curiosity. I am not always able to stop the train once it leaves the station but there have been times when I’ve felt triggered and taken a breath and asked silently, “what are you telling yourself?” If I had been able to ask myself that question the night my lover tried to talk with me the answer would have probably been: “You are terrified that this person is abandoning you, and that his decision to do so is because he has discovered how imperfect you are. You will always be abandoned because you are unworthy of love. There will always be someone younger, thinner and less flawed than you are. You deserve this pain.” I understand how ludicrous this may sound to some, but I also think that for others this may resonate. How often do we react to the voice of our inner saboteur and not to reality? How many of us have to let the story be told all the way to the end, even if it’s not the truth? How many of us are simply reacting to each other’s triggers without even realizing it?

Now that I am aware of these insidious beliefs, I wonder how much they have steered the direction of my life. If I didn’t have a compulsion to attain physical approval, would I be so driven? Would I have more self-confidence in my other abilities if I wasn’t quietly defeating myself so often? Do I chose to have extremely physical affairs that value my body and sexuality more than my brain and kindness because this is what my mother taught me is true success? I am openly curious about how my trauma continues to affect my daily decision making process.

I still weigh myself every morning and the number that appears still has the power to affect my disposition. I am currently 39 years old and as of 7:49 this morning I weighed 173.5 pounds. I still go to the gym seven days a week. I still struggle with being critical of my physical form. I am admitting that I’m not always kind to myself, but I am trying to change that. I want you all to understand that some people may need to be told repeatedly that they are beautiful, not necessarily because they are shallow but because it’s ammunition against the battle going on inside of them.  


Summer 2018

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This sh*t got me in my feelings.

I am not alone. I am loved. These feeling will pass. Last week I wrote these words on a Post-It Note and fell asleep tightly gripping it after dosing myself with Benadryl. I woke several hours later my right hand still curled into a fist around the paper, with the hope that osmosis would make them truths. I have felt desperate, lonely and sad – confined to an inner torture chamber of destructive thoughts. I have been terrified that I somehow reentered the full expression of my PTSD and afraid to even speak those words to others. I’ve acknowledged that in these situations, you have to be real with it…

Pardon my dust (it’s not snortable). Please check back for exciting updates about the publication of these essays in an anthology concerning my experience with the treatment of PTSD using MDMA psychotherapy.


Jonathan 8.24.18


Me, after a good cry. 8.24.18

Seven minutes in heaven.

I recently learned first-hand the stark differences between DMT and 5-MEO-DMT while doing some research on the subject from the comfort of my living room recliner. In retrospect this information would have potentially come in very handy a few weeks prior when I convinced a few of my dearest friends to take a trip with me to smoke 5-MEO-DMT as part of my birthday celebrations. I was under the impression that these drugs were one in the same, just the natural versus the synthetic. I had no idea that the drugs were not only structurally different, but that the experiences would be so dramatically intense and life-altering. If you are looking for some beautiful visions and the potential of encountering and perhaps communicating with otherworldly beings then DMT might be your jam. If you are searching to experience the intense dissolution of your world, the death of your ego and the knowledge that time and space are not at all as you have experienced them, then 5-MEO-DMT might be what you are seeking…

Pardon my dust (it’s not snortable). Please check back for exciting updates about the publication of these essays in an anthology concerning my experience with the treatment of PTSD using MDMA psychotherapy.
For more information on psychedelics and 5-MEO-DMT please check out:




After the Toad

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Galatea of Spheres – Salvador Dali

If you know me, you know someone who has had an abortion.

Does knowing that I’ve had an abortion make you feel differently about me? In 2006 I was raped by a someone close to me which resulted in a pregnancy. I had to navigate the post-Katrina New Orleans women’s health care system in order to find access to an abortion. It was a nightmare experience that I fear is not all that different over a decade later. When I read the article published yesterday about a Walgreens pharmacist in Arizona who refused to fill a woman’s prescription for Misoprostol, I felt a familiar disgust. Women’s rights still have a very long way to go…

Pardon my dust (it’s not snortable). Please check back for exciting updates about the publication of these essays in an anthology concerning my experience with the treatment of PTSD using MDMA psychotherapy.

For information concerning women’s rights and abortion here in Louisiana please visit

Lift’s mission is to educate, advocate and litigate for policy changes needed to improve the health and well-being of women in Louisiana, their families and communities.

Our annual fundraiser is happening this Friday June 29th. Information and tickets availible here

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Me 2006 New Orleans, Louisiana

When it rains, it pours.

In the last 72 hours I’ve spent more time asleep than awake. I’ve succumbed to my bed many times, only to drift off into restless sleep punctuated by nightmares. I’ve learned the hard way that even if I try to mentally deny trauma, my body will still respond. Part of me wants to applaud the hard healing work my body is doing, the other part of me feels fucking hopeless…

Pardon my dust (it’s not snortable). Please check back for exciting updates about the publication of these essays in an anthology concerning my experience with the treatment of PTSD using MDMA psychotherapy.


Billy Tipton & The Korean War

When my father was 21 years old he served in the United States Army and “fought” during the Korean War. In honor of yesterday, which would have been his 89th birthday, I’ve ( very modestly) edited one of the war stories that he recorded for me as part of his memoirs.  

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So anyway, after that they sent me to Korea. And, of course, I corresponded with Rosemary while I was overseas. Course I embellished the letters I wrote to her. I made it sound much more warlike than it really was. And over there, while I was in Korea I knew a guy by the name of Harry Probst Van Osdale, his momma owned a department store in Akron I believe, or someplace. Anyway, we got to be friends.

And I got with this UPS outfit, Unit Personnel Section, because when I first arrived in Korea, we were out there and they were assigning us to different companies. Most of them were going on the line. Finally, the Sergeant asks “Is there anyone here who can type?”

Well my hand went up like a Roman candle because I didn’t want to go up on the line, believe me. And so they signed me and I was the morning report man for the time that I was there.

The main thing I was interested in was the whores around the compound when we were in Chuncheon, and that’s where I met Sandy. Sandy was a good whore and had been taking care of this young boy named Kim. I think he was seven years old when I met him. I ended up taking care of him. It even got to where we had a cot for him in the tent. There were 8 of us to a tent. One was a football player who could reach over the barbed wire fence and pull him up where he could sleep safely in our tent at night. And of course we gave him cigarettes and, you know, we fed him. I knew that when I finally rotated back to the United States you could only bring so much Yen, which was the military money. So when I left there, I wanted to make sure Sandy would continue to take care of Kim. I gave her the sum of $750.

And the day I was gonna go, I’m looking through the barbed wire fence at Kim and he says “Tippo, someday me America go!”

I said “Well, I certainly hope so, Kim, cause you really deserve it. You’re a good little man.”

While I was over there this captain that Johnny, my step-father, knew in the Army called me on the phone and boy that pissed everybody off. Here I am, I’m up near the front lines and I’m getting a phone call from this jackass who just wants to know how I’m doing. This is the same guy that one time while he was driving down the road, he dropped something and he reached down to get it, stopped looking at the road and ran into a telephone pole. So, you know what kind of a brilliant son of a bitch he was.

I have to tell you this now. The war, we’d been all over. And I’d had one night where I was guarding a gasoline dump. And they put me down there. The first night we had moved, our tents are not even up, I’m on guard duty. I gotta go and guard the gasoline. And on the way down there the Lieutenant that was taking me down there says “Oh yeah, well last night, the guy that was guarding down there, we couldn’t find him in the morning. All we found was his helmet and something else, but the rest of him was gone.”  So, that really interested me. That night it was, I don’t know, 20 below zero, one of them kind of nights. And when gasoline drums are in that type of cold, they crackle. So there I am, they have a tent with a small stove for the guard to be in. Well, I’m thinking about that guy that disappeared the night before, and my ass wasn’t going in that tent where they would suspect I was going to be. I was hiding out between the goddamn barrels.That was one of the scariest fucking things that I was involved in, in Korea.

Time goes on and now the war’s over. And we’re in this place on the side of a mountain and we’ve set up our tents. And we’re still doing business but kind of haphazardly because there wasn’t anything going on. There wasn’t anybody getting killed and all of that shit like it had been, which I knew because of the morning reports that I made out every day. I would know exactly who, if anyone, had been killed the night before.

Now we were there with the warrant officers. Three or four of us got into a poker game and we’re drinking Canadian Club. All we could get over there was Canadian Club. And it came through the Koreans. We were playing and we ran out of whiskey. And now we’re deep in this game and we’re about half drunk and we don’t have any whiskey. So, Mr. Hall says “Well Tipton, there’s a chogie camp about a mile and a half down the canyon. Why don’t you go down there and buy us four bottles? I think there about 10 dollars a bottle. Here’s 40 dollars, let’s cut it out of the pot here. We’ll do it up now and we’ll all pay for it.”

So, down the fucking canyon I go and I come to this place where they got a bunch of small tents. This was where the Korean workers lived. And in this one big tent, that’s where the commanding officer is. So, I talked to this Korean and I tell him I want to see the Cap-i-tan. And he knows what I’m talking about, we go in there, he then disappears and the Captain is sitting there behind a table in a uniform. And he says “How many bottle you want?”

I said “Four.”

And he called to a person that was in the other side, in another compartment of the tent evidently. And in a few minutes, he comes in. He brings the bottles and sets them down.

The Captain said “That’ll be forty-four dollar.”

Well, he was already beating me for a dollar on each one.  But anyway, I thought about it for a few minutes like I was gonna get the money out of my pocket and I says to him “My Captain would really take it good if you would give him this “presento.”

“Oh, no, no, no. I can’t do. No, no, no. You don’t understand!”
He told me I didn’t understand.

I said “Yeah, I understand. My Captain would appreciate if you would give him these as a  present.”

“Oh, no, no, no. Impossible. Not possible.”

I took my .45 out of the holster and I pointed it at him across the table and I said “My Captain would really like it if you make a present of these.”

“Oh, it’s fine, fine. Very good! Very good, very, very, very good!”

So now, I’ve got this. I’ve already made my deal and I’m backing out of the tent. It’s a flap and as I’m coming out the flap there was a Korean coming in the flap. So, I just took that .45 and knocked the shit out of him. He was out, completely I’m sure. I didn’t stay there long enough to find out because I’m out in the night and I’m running away from this chogie camp and I’m beginning to think that what I’ve done is really ignorant.

I’m running and I’m running and I hear behind me men yelling in Korean. These motherfuckers are jabbering and I can tell they’re on a dead run to find me. I’m running up this goddamn canyon and I look and there’s this little space that I would call a wash, but it had some brush and growth in it. Now I knew if I kept running that they were gonna get me and kill me. So, I got in that canyon as good as I could do it and I lied on my back and I had that .45 pointed up. I said to myself “Well, the first motherfucker that finds me is gonna meet his maker. After that I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I know that motherfucker is going to die from finding me.”

Well, here they come and they’re all around me. And they’re even standing on a little ledge on top of where I’m looking up at them. They don’t see me. Oh they run here. They run there. I don’t know how long I lay there, it seemed like an eternity and pretty soon they withdrew. After I was pretty sure they were gone – the majority of them, cause I figured I could kill one or two if I had to, but with all of them I wouldn’t have a chance – I got out of there as fast as I could.  

When I got back up to the poker game warrant officer Hall says “Well, goddamn. It sure took you a long fucking time to get them.”

I said “Yeah, well there was a bit of a problem.”

“Bit of a problem?”

And so I set the bottles on the table and I say  “The Captain down there made you a present of these.”

He says “A present? You don’t know what the shit you’re talking about. You really are drunk.”

And then I explained the whole story and they laughed their ass off. They thought it was funny as could be.

Oh, by the way, this Harry Probst Van Osdale deal that I mentioned earlier… the guy that lived in the same tent that I did. He was going with Sinclair Lewis’s daughter and he was writing to her, but he didn’t know what to write or what to say, so he asked me if I would write her. Boy, I really wrote her. I wrote her flowery letters and really told her how Harry was doing in the war, but like it was Harry. And Harry would copy them and send them to her. So, I thought that that was kind of interesting.


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Don’t forget about the dogs.

My mother had an extensive collection of table decorations. A hope chest in the dining room held stacks of linens including tablecloths, lace overlays, placemats and napkins. There was also an absurd amount of napkin rings. At least one variety for every major holiday, and several seasonal selections as well. She adored this collection and I can’t ever remember seeing her six-seat dining room table bare. She justified her ever growing collection by her insistence upon hosting all holiday family dinners. For these occasions, the best of the best adorned the table along with copious amounts of artery-clogging food. My mother never ate much other than meat, prefering to chew on everyone’s left over bones and smoke her Virginia Slims on the back patio…

Pardon my dust (it’s not snortable). Please check back for exciting updates about the publication of these essays in an anthology concerning my experience with the treatment of PTSD using MDMA psychotherapy.

Copper & I