I had just returned to the property of my young adult overnight shelter in Auburn, Washington, Arcadia House. I remember feeling sad and frustrated, the last few days had been absolute hell for me at the shelter. The place I considered home had become a place I felt extremely unsafe at from my peers and staff alike. 

Everyone else was around the front and I stayed in the back sitting on the picnic table. The only thing providing a light was a small light casting a greenish haze above the door, and the golden lights of the streetlights on the sidewalks on the road behind. 

I finished looking at something on my phone, and I remember a brief feeling of self accomplishment. A group of about six boys came around from the front of the house. I felt anxious at first. 

Are they here to beat me up? Who can I call out to for help? No one, the others could care less, take the beating like a man, are the thoughts that went through my head. 

One of them, a tall, black kid wearing a purple, Kool Aid man t shirt approached me, and asked, “hey, can I use your phone to make a call?”. 

I hesitated. Something did not feel right. I looked at the others around us, how they looked almost ready to run. 

Throwing caution to the wind, I shrugged and said, “yeah go ahead”. 

Time seemed to slow, as the urge to suddenly jump onto the kid who I handed my phone to made no move to call someone. I remember he seemed to freeze mid air as he jumped up and over a small bench, and just my whole body trembled from wanting to tackle him in that instance. 

There are six of them and one of you, they could beat you up and then where would you be? I thought to myself, and somehow calmed down a bit. I watched as they all took off running with my phone and feeling small. 

I had just let my phone get stolen. The phone that I had collected, carried and turned plastic bottles into cash for at Job Corps. The phone that I was using to keep in touch with a cute girl from there, and keeping in touch with people I knew cared for me in general. The phone that a friend of mine had just bought me six months of service for. 

I saw them crossing the street and I started walking after them, I was in no position to run as I have never been someone able to run fast. I saw one of the guys look over his shoulder at me, and he said something to others and they all took off down a dark street with little to no streetlights. I started crying and stood in the street trembling for a few moments. I was able to compose myself enough to walk up to the house of Meghan and Kate, two of the sweetest people I had met at Auburn High School, (I had just been transferred to Auburn Mountainview High School that week, and felt overwhelmed with adjusting to a new school in addition to everything else that was going on), and knock on their door. I felt my cheeks burning with embarrassment against the cold wind, I felt terrible but reasoned with myself that I was doing the only thing I knew to do in this kind of situation – which was to get to a safe place to call 911. Someone who I guessed to be their mother opened the front door, woah they look just like her, I thought to myself quickly taking in the resemblances.

“I am so sorry, but is Meghan or Kate here? I know them from school, I am staying at the nearby homeless shelter” I managed to squeak out as tears managed to sneak past the corners of my eyes. Meeting new people was always a cause of severe anxiety for me, and I hate when they have to be under circumstances such as the ones I had just gone through. 

“Yes one moment” replied their mother as she left the door open and walked towards what I guessed was the dining room, it looked as though they might have been having game night or something, and I felt even worse. 

I was immediately grateful, and relieved when I saw both Meghan and Kate come around the corner. Meghan wrapped me in a warm hug without hesitation, and I felt Kate put her arm on my shoulder. I let myself soak in that moment of pure safety for a few seconds. I felt a bit more anxious as I saw their dad listening from the doorway of the dining room. I pulled away and explained what had happened to Meghan, and asked to use a phone to call 911, to which Meghan immediately handed me her phone and I was able to make a call. 

I thanked her, and Kate, and apologized to her parents and walked back to Arcadia House and sat on the bench until night shelter officially opened up.

I decided to not hold my breath that a cop would show up. However, a while later a police officer did come and listened as I described what had happened to me to him. I felt somewhat intimidated but grateful that he was there. 

“Do you know if the kids name is Sayvar?” he asked me and I said I was not sure, as I had not recognized him. 

“Are you sure?” he asked me. An image of the whiteboard in the Pathways classroom flashed through my head, and focused on a name; Sayvar. A sinking feeling came over me as I realized that he was probably in my classroom, but I was not sure if he was, and I did not want to cause any further issues; Sayvar was black and the officer was white. 

“Yes, I am unsure” I said again, before continuing to explain that I had just transferred to a new school and had not memorized everyone’s names yet. The officer proceeded to give me his number and my case number, telling me to call him when I find out.

Fast forward to Monday, the first thing I looked at was the whiteboard and anger flooded through me as my eyes fell on Sayvar’s name. 

“Where is Sayvar?” I asked Ms. O’Rourke, later that day. 

“He moved to Tacoma” replied Mrs. Sahlstrom, and I let my head sink into my hands with frustration. 

My World, My Sky

CW: this is about poem about suicide.

If you are thinking of hurting yourself please reach out for help because YOU matter.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 800-273-8255

Trevor Lifeline: (866) 488-7386

Trans Lifeline: USA (877) 565-8860

Trans Lifeline: Canada (877)330-6366

For the Crisis Text Line text ‘HOME’ to 741741

Cabinet of Jars

Here is something I wrote a while ago. I’m not sure how to describe it though. It is not a metaphor in anyway, and it’s not a poem, or a creative story. I guess I could call it an analogy of some sort.

I hope you enjoy it :). Orion

I have a lot of jars. So many that it is impossible to put an exact number on how many I have.

I store them in the cupboard that is my brain, and it is vast. On the outside it looks as any normal cupboard would small and boring; the only intriguing thing about it is the key hole. It is a small but strong and serves its purpose of keeping my jars locked away and protecting them from any intruders.

This cupboard holds many things about in its innumerable jars. Memories happy and sad. Emotions that I have felt, those I acknowledge and those that I have buried far beneath the surface underneath the rows or shelves that hold them. These jars hold the memories of people I have met, and places I have been in my lifetime.

These jars are in all sorts of conditions.

Those that hold sad memories, negative emotions, hurtful people, dark places, and things I would rather forget are sealed shut, corroded, and completely covered with layers of dirt and mud. They have been so neglected that their jar shape is barely recognizable and buried as far away from the surface as possible. If this cabinet was Mother Earth, they’d be one shovel away from Earth’s core so that they would be burned away if there was ever to be an earthquake. I never attempt to clean them much less open them because if I did then I would be opening Pandora’s jar.

Sometimes though these jars are ticking time bombs and they explode from the Earth where they have been buried like geysers. Their layers get broken upon falling back against the ground. Although I don’t want to, I pick them up and open the lid to rewatch what is inside before screwing the lid shut again and re-burying it. I have learned that this happens when I am about to have a repeat of something that hurt me.

There are jars that hold bittersweet memories, relationships, emotions, and specific moments from their different times in my life. Lessons that I learned the hard way, sometimes more than once, but have proved their value in my life nonetheless. These jars are on the lowest shelves level with my hip so they don’t get tarnished from my shoveling to bury my worst jars. They do have dust layered on think on the outside and my handprints are visible, some clearly printed and others starting to fade away.

I open these ones from time to time to reflect on how far I have come. Depending on if it holds something more bitter than sweet I open it to remind myself why I do what I do. Almost like ripping off a band aid.

The jars that hold the happiest memories, the best places, the beautiful people I have met along the way, and things that bring me joy are in the best jars of all. Some of them are so amazing that they glow and when I open a lid to one of these jars I am able to relive everything that is stored inside.

I have a lot of jars to many to count. But when if I want to see as many of them as I can at once, I walk to the center and climb up a small tower that I use to look out over the inside of this cabinet that is my mind. I can see the dirt mounds from my digging, and the infinite jars that are dusty, and those that are clear, especially the ones that glow.

These jars hold a little part of me inside each of them, and that is why they are all locked inside this cupboard that is my mind with it’s very small keyhole.

The Crosswalk Moment

I feel like a newborn and I hate it. I’m so used to feeling like an old soul. I’m grateful that my eyes have been opened to the reality of being a person of color, but it’s consuming me and that is what I hate.

I feel like I have developed a prejudice to white people and I feel disgusted with myself. It’s not the kind of prejudice where I will treat other disrespectfully just because they’re white and I’m brown.

I dont even know if prejudice is the right word more than I’m simply more aware of how white people are treated. I’m more aware and noticing more how I’m treated differently and knowing it’s socially acceptable to a lot of people.

Just the other night I got off the bus and was crossing the road to get to the side where I can start walking down to my apartments. I noticed this older white lady, maybe in her late 50’s walking her dog. When my light changed for me to cross, I was in a hurry to get home and I started walking, almost jogging but not quite. She had been a bit away from pressing the button for the light to change for her to cross and she pretty much ran the last few steps even though I had stopped and was halfway across the road.

“She’s running because you appear male, and you’re brown, she wouldn’t have ran like that if you’d been white. Maybe she would have but not likely. Because brown men are rapists, criminals, gang bangers” is what the voice inside my head said to me.

I stopped dead in my tracks as she hurried across her crosswalk to get away from me.
I felt small, angry and hurt. In a different way than I had ever experienced before.

I wanted to cry, and I wanted to shout after her, “you dont need to racial profile me! The only foreigners in America are you white people! Brown people were in America way before any white person came over, so why don’t YOU go back home to where YOU belong and leave me alone!”.

I immediately felt ashamed after wanting to shout that after her.

I hate saying this next part more but I don’t want to talk to another person of color. Even though it could be helpful, I don’t want to feed into prejudice that already exists. And I have been told that this makes me a traitor to every person of color. However, I also do not want to talk to a white person about it either.

The Journey Begins

Hello there, and thank you for joining me!

My name is Orion Olsen, I am 20 years old and I live in Kent, Washington. I work for a non-profit in Seattle, and I have a little long haired dachshund who is four months old and the most precious thing to me in my life, her name is Tillie. She also gets to go to work with me.

I am transgender male and although I have been told by a lot of times to not lead with that, I am going to. Because it is a huge piece of who I am and it is very important to me. I want to live visibly as a transgender individual for those who cannot yet in the hope that I can help make the world a better place for those in the transgender community.

I am unsure of what direction I will be taking this blogging gig in but it will be somewhat of a journal and space for me to write my thoughts out and what has happened to me so far.

I will share pieces of writing I wrote in the past things that are kind of like prose and poetry but not exactly, as they do not fit either definition.

Hopefully after just word vomiting a lot, things will become clearer to me.

If you as the reader have any questions about anything or would like for me to write a post about my view on topics I have not thought of before please let me know!

This is Tillie, and I held her up through the sun roof as we were passing through University District, and a friend of mine took this photo of her. Go cougs by the way!