I’m not dead yet.

I’m not dead yet.

Hey there. Long time no chat. So, I’ve been wanting to write something here for months. I just really didn’t know what to say. I felt, and still feel, as if my voice is somewhat taken away from me. That’s vague, and I would love to elaborate, but it is what it is. I will try to write something soon. However, I have started a new project and am starting a new chapter in my life. I am building a “Skoolie.” For those of you that don’t know what that means, it’s a school bus that’s been converted into a tiny house on wheels.  I will be documenting it via blog and probably YouTube. The YouTube thing is something I really want to do, but between my dysphoria surrounding my voice, the comments that will come with that, and the time involved in editing video.. I’m still working my way up to it.  In any event, I’ve created a separate wordpress site to have some sort of delineation between my personal blog and the bus content. You can find the new site at: http://skoolie.transventures.org/

Holla Jesu Christe

Holla Jesu Christe

[TW: Suicide] 

Standard mom stuff: If you’re thinking about suicide, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.


So here we are again. I’m back staring at this screen. For a second there, I thought I had written my last entry. 

This post is a couple of things, which I’ll get to assuredly. This post is going to be the realist shit that I’m likely to share to a public audience ever again. By the time I’ve hit post here, I’ll still be alive. Thankfully. But I’ll be metaphorically naked in front of all of you. I am baring it all. What it’s not… is a cry for help, a ploy for attention, or an invitation to post a reply such as “I’m always here if you want to talk.”

Does that seem rude? It’s not intended to be. I know it’s what you say when you want to say something but you don’t know what to say. I just want people to know that I’m not the type that typically reaches out in that kind of way. The people who I reach to already know who they are. 

I am not posting this for my own good, but in the hope that it helps someone else pull the proverbial panic cord, pump their brakes, call a timeout, or whatever metaphor you find works best. For the people who don’t suffer from some sort of mental illness, maybe it brings better understanding. 

Throughout the post, I’m going to reference things that I’ve taken away from the Biodyne model of suicide assessment and prevention. I shouldn’t have to disclaim this, but of course, I’m not a doctor, I’m not a mental health professional. I’m just a person who struggles with her own mental health and who also sees others around her struggle with their own. Beyond that, the people who are left in the wake of disaster, the warm blanket of oblivion ripped rudely off of them in the night.  With that said, onward and upward, shall we? 

Starting sometime during the week of June 12th, thoughts of suicide started to creep into the forefront of my brain. They’re never far away, always lurking somewhere in shadows, waiting for a chance to seize the day. Waiting for the chance to become the all consuming thing that you can’t avoid, until they succeed in making you another statistic, a hash tag, a sad story. Or you “pump the brakes” and slow down long enough to take a look around. 

By the end of last weekend, it was more than a passing thought. It had taken up residence right in front of me. It was all I could see. I had entered what they refer to as Stage 1. This is not unfamiliar territory to me. I’ve been there a number of times, it normally passes pretty quick and I move along, sending a passing email to my therapist saying something like “Hey, this happened, I’m okay but I wanted you to know.” Then we could talk about it at my next session.

"Everyone has dark times -- a story held in secret.."
“Everyone has dark times — a story held in secret..”

Of course, this time, I didn’t do that. I didn’t send any emails. On the outside, I don’t think anyone could see the big black dog named depression that was following me around. Hell, I even went out and danced, something I don’t do, with random Lyft customers turned friends on Saturday night. I had fun. That’s the thing about depression. It’s not all sitting around, sulking and listening to Brand New and The Get Up Kids.  

By Tuesday, I had swiftly exited the ideation phase and was actively planning the end of my own life. I started putting together certain documents, keys, passcodes, passwords, blank checks and other things that I knew people would need in the wake of it all. I started on my “note.” What it ended up being, near as makes no difference, was a 4100 word of drivel. A long, sad tale that ranged from my own failings to the perceived failings of others. At times a scathing, no-holds-barred airing of grievances that only one other person has read at this point. I intend to keep it that way. 

Throughout my planning, I was even taking smaller details into consideration. Things that a stereotypical suicidal character on a Lifetime made for TV drama wouldn’t. I knew that more than anything, I didn’t want my kids to find me. I know that Grayson can sometimes be anywhere between 2-10 minutes faster than Megan to get inside my house. He doesn’t knock. Additionally, I didn’t want someone like the fire department to have to kick in a door. Someone would have to fix that later, right?

I even made a playlist. I’m not really sure who it was for. I think it was for me than anything. It started as 33 tracks and eventually I whittled it down to about 17. About the perfect length for a mix CD, 73 minutes. Of course, I didn’t have an optical drive in my laptop, and Spotify wasn’t going to let me burn it anyway.. but there it was. 

This happened all throughout the course of Tuesday afternoon and Thursday morning. The only thing that really kept me out of the third and final phase was that I didn’t have a time frame for when this was all supposed to go down. I had a mental to-do list of the things I needed to accomplish before I could even get to scheduling the end of the end. 

Tuesday evening, I went to dinner with Brian. We had wings and beer, as customary with the two of us.. I had been texting with a friend intermittently throughout the day, and as I understood, she was having a shitty afternoon. I invited her to come down and have a beer. She politely declined, as I expected. “Maybe next time,” I replied. It felt hollow, because I wasn’t expecting there to be a next time. A day late friend, I mused to myself. 

My short term memory is so bad, I don’t remember what I did Wednesday morning. I know at some point, I went to Home Depot to pick up something I would need. Utility knife blades. Then I went next door to Tumbleweed and had lunch by myself. I ordered my usual burrito and a beer. I sat at the bar alone. Both in physical presence and mentally. The mix of even a really low dose of Klonopin, only a sixth of what my former psychiatry nurse practitioner had prescribed, and the beer apparently was a bad choice.

As soon as I got home, I passed out. When I awoke, later that evening, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to go back to sleep. Through out the night, I cried all the tears I had out as I worked on the playlists and the note.

Around 5am, the sun was rising and I felt satisfied with what I had written.  I hadn’t eaten dinner the night before and had been living off Coca-Cola and loud music. I got dressed and went to Waffle House by myself. I sat in a dirty booth that no one bothered to wipe down after the previous guests had departed. As I sat in a dirty booth, eating my breakfast, I started beginning to have a moment of clarity. I paid for my half-eaten meal, got back in my car and pulled out onto Bardstown Rd, thinking about all that had happened in the last 36 or so hours. I considered certain contradictions in what I was planning. My jaw and head ached from clenching my teeth throughout the night, having foregone any additional Klonopin to ease the anxiety.  

I pulled into the parking lot at Kroger, and went inside to buy some Ibuprofen. I couldn’t seem to locate the bottle at my house. Assuming either we had taken it all, or that it was sitting in a box somewhere in Rhode Island. 

As I exited the store, I realized that I hadn’t bought anything to drink to actually take the ibuprofen with. Sitting in my car, with the engine idling and the transmission in park. I considered going back inside to buy a coke. I felt to numb, too out of sorts to even bother. I opened the bottle and took two pills, swallowing them dry. 

Then instead of putting the car in drive and heading home, I pulled out my phone. I opened the app that I use to communicate with my doctor and I typed out the following message: 

Ok,

I’m officially pulling the fire alarm. This dizziness, lightheadedness, vertigo thing that I’ve got going on is starting to get out of control.

More importantly, certainly more time critical, is that I’ve passed through stage 2 of the biodyne model of suicidal thoughts. I know there’s nothing worse than having a Graduate of the Google School of Medicine for a patient, but I found this page:

And by my own self-assessment I’m at the completion of stage 2, entering stage 3, but not quite in what they call the “Auto pilot” mode. I considered going to the emergency room, but I haven’t, because well it seemed a little scary.

I’ve backed away from the proverbial ledge, but I’ve been up all night and realized at about 6am that I’ve amassed more than just a note, it’s 4100 words.

I’m safe right now, but I’m going to reach out now, in the interest of full disclosure, for better or worse.

Call, text, write. Love y’all.

–Addison

Then I went home and went to sleep and waited from a call from them. I was in contact with them throughout the day, as they checked in on me and went over my medications.  I should back up a bit and explain..

At the beginning of the month, I had visited because my fatigue was so bad that I couldn’t do anything productive. The doctor came up with a treatment plan, because she advised the combination of drugs he had prescribed had significant risks, including seizures. She tried to do it in such a way that the side effects of withdraw would be minimized, but still told me to stay close and let her know how it was going. Once I was tapered back to a safe dosage, we would reassess my treatment options. That appointment was/is scheduled for the first week of July.  However, the side effects had continued to get worse, the more I tapered down on the medication that was being eliminating. Even yesterday, I was still feeling disconnected and kind of dizzy. Like things getting to my brain were being passed through a wah-wah pedal first. 

Today is the first day in a long time, that I have a sense of clarity. I’ve got a touch of a headache, but at least I’m not clenching my jaw in an attempt to grind my teeth into a bloody pulp. It’s scary that I could have been a day too hasty in giving up. 

The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.

Hunter S. Thompson - Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga

So there it is, my week. Why I’ve not been at work. Why I’ve been acting distant. Why I’ve been a bitch to a couple people, namely my mother. A lot of things. I quoted the verse “Let me tell you what I wish I’d known when I was young and dreamed of glory. You have no control. Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?” from the Hamilton musical. For today, I’m still at the helm, I still tell my own story. However, I came close to the edge.

I think I now know where the edge is, but as Hunter S. Thompson famously penned, “The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others the living-are those who pushed their control as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later. But the edge is still out there.”

And we always made it work, no matter how much it did hurt…

And we always made it work, no matter how much it did hurt…

On the eve of the 364th day of vagina ownership, I feel that a update is required. However, I don’t really know what more to say. Once the initial healing was done, the dilations tapered down, things just got sort of normal. 

Things I’ve learned about having a vagina: 

  1. Unlike your dick, it has more than 3 smells. Dick has a tendency to smell like one of a couple of things. Freshly showered, Dude you need a shower, and “OMG WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING WITH THAT THING?”  A vagina has approximately 15 or more smells. I know what only some of them mean. 
  2. Bacterial Vaginosis is a thing. A thing that I don’t like.
  3. Yeast is used for more than just making bread and beer.
  4. Make sure the toilet paper is actually free of your, uhh, folds before you stand up.

Other than that, things have been fine. My underwear fit for the first time in the last 18-20 years. My pants fit better. I bought a swimsuit that I neither hate or love, which as I gather, is success. I still don’t have hips, nor a butt. No one gets it all. 

Over that period, I lost my newest and last form of virginity. As if I was 15 and in high school, I thought it was with the person I would die with, but months later I found that was not true. Even with my best efforts. I made Lloyd Dobler look like a fucking amatuer, and for a fleeting time I thought I did it, but it was all to no avail. Just like the rap guys misogynistically say that you can’t make a ho a housewife, the same applies to politicians. 

It’s been a year of triumph, it’s been a year of utter failure. I honestly can’t tell you that I’m better today mentally than I was a year ago. That has nothing to do with my genitals though. I can tell you, without question, I’d rather be in San Francisco tonight, on the eve of this surgery all over, than here in Kentucky.  I’ll never forget the feeling of waking up that morning, not tucking, not caring. The thought that nothing else really mattered today. That feeling of waking up in post-op. A brief bit of terror, asking the nurse if the surgery happened, then tears of joy after she told me that it went just fine. 

All the exams, all the “frog legs,” all the poking, prodding, the bleeding, a month long period, all those pads, the catheter, the miralax. All worth it. So worth it. There were moments of fear, of terror. Not that I had made a mistake, but that something was wrong and I was going to end up with some complication. Pictures taken from awkward angles, texted to my surgeon and the replies always similar “Looks fine, just be patient.” All the while thinking, “Bitch, you don’t know me. I don’t do patient.”

I would do it 100 times over. There’s not really a good way to explain how much better my life is because of it, but it has changed my life in a way that only a trans person can understand. A huge source of dissonance between my mind and my body corrected after a lifetime of conflict. 

From the days of being a 15 year old “boy” laying on the bed, with hands not on the genitals, but on the spot where the vaginal canal was supposed to be, imagining what it was like. Thinking of what I believed I was supposed to have from the womb. Through the years of searching for “sex change operations” in the back corner of the all-boys school computer lab. All of the years of thinking about being a girl and then being overwhelmed with shame and feelings of filth. To today, where I am the woman, ready to stomp on anyone that says otherwise, it’s been a long wild ride. 

The fight for my basic rights as a human are not over, but I have the body. I have the confidence. The confidence to tell anyone who thinks I’m anything but the woman to go fuck themselves. It’s liberating. 

Adventures in Mental Health

Adventures in Mental Health

I wanted to write this up before I forget any of the finer details. As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to take my mental health very seriously. With the amount of stressors that I have experienced in the last 2 years, I’m not ashamed to say that depression has been a problem. When you also consider that one of my best friends committed suicide about 10 months ago after losing his battle with depression, it becomes even more important to me. 

Over the last year, I’ve been working with my family doctor and my psychologist to find a balance. My GP has tried adjusting my dosages, as well as trying different drugs, to no avail. Both at separate times suggested that I see a psychiatrist that had more specific knowledge on psychotropics. I was recommended to a center that was staffed with both nurse practitioners and doctors of psychiatry. I called and set up an appointment for this past Thursday. 

As I normally do when visiting a new doctor, I downloaded their intake paperwork completed it a couple days prior to the appointment. Nevertheless, I arrived about 13 minutes early for my 10:15 appointment. I signed in at the front desk and took a seat. The first thing I noticed was how busy the place was. The building being a repurposed house didn’t have a large waiting room and it was full. Additionally, some of the people waiting had restaurant style pagers. 

10:15 came and went as I amused myself on the internet as usual. As 10:30 came, I called my

Seriously?
Seriously?

manager to let him know that I would be coming in later due to a doctor’s appointment. At 10:38, I finally got up and went back to the window to see if they had forgotten about me. She motioned towards the check-in book. 

“I signed in at 10:03. The sticker I signed has been peeled off”, I replied. 

With no apology or explanation, she took my paperwork and a copy of my ID, then provided me with a pager of my own. I sat across from a mother and daughter, who were waiting for a 10AM appointment. She was finally paged at 10:52. In less than 5 minutes, her appointment was over. I’m thinking, “Seriously? SERIOUSLY?” in my best Meredith Grey voice.

About that time, I get called and simultaneously vibrated as my table for four is ready.. Oh wait, this is a mental health office, not Texas Roadhouse. So I meet my new person. His name is, well, we’ll call him Steve. So Steve invites me into his office. The first thing I notice is that it’s like my office at home. A mess. Stuff everywhere. Which, I can’t cast stones in glass houses, but hey! I don’t see patients in my office. We just play video games and post passive aggressive tweets. I digress. 

He introduces himself, and we’re exchanging pleasantries. He mentions that there’s an Addison in his family, but that Addison is a boy. I told him that a hundred years ago, Addison was primarily a masculine name, but in recent decades has become more popular as a woman’s name. I also mentioned that I had a non-binary/agender friend and their name is Addison as well. This is where things started to go sideways.

 “What is non-binary?” he asks. 

At first I think he’s joking. Then as I look at his face, I can actually see the puzzled look on his face. It’s the same face my seven year old makes when I explain something technical. It’s not dramatically different than my dogs cocking their heads to one side when you say, “Who’s a good dog?”

I explained that there are people who don’t identify with either male or female, that there are people who are fluid between genders and then some, like my friend, who are agender. They don’t identify as any gender. I got the feeling that, maybe.. I was his first trans patient. Somehow, it feels slightly unfair that this guy brings in at least $75-100 an hour, but I have to educate him on things that he could find on google. 

Next, Steve starts with a brief history. I give him the broad strokes, my laundry list of medications. What we’ve tried, etc. I always like when a professional asks me, “Why such a low dose of X?” To which I’m thinking, “Uh, IDK. That’s what the doctor told me to take???” 

Anyway, he asks about family history. I tell him what I know, in terms of mental health. Then we go into alcoholism and addiction. I explain about my father and his sobriety up until his passing. He pushes deeper about the rest of the family. 

“Well, I was raised catholic, so that should give you an idea”, I quipped. 

He doesn’t get the joke and continues to push on it. I explain that if you go AA’s “Twelve Questions Only You Can Answer” page, many of my family members would have fallen on the spectrum at some point in their lives. 

Finally, moving on, I’m asked about any past surgeries. Mind you, all of this was listed on my intake paperwork. I tell him that I had GRS in May and then Breast Augmentation in November. That I had my wisdom teeth out about 16-17 years ago but other than that, no other significant medical interventions.

I explain that I’m having a number of issues aside from just typical depression. My problem list: 

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Issues staying on task
  • Constant exhaustion, lethargy, and malaise. 
  • Nervous Anxiety
  • Clenching my jaw subconsciously when I’m awake.

Then we take, what feels like, a drastic course change back to Transtown™.  First is a question that’s so hard for a trans person to answer, at least in the first couple years. 

“Are you still,” motioning with his hands towards his crotch, “…. um… male down there?”

I shot him the kind of look that only a mother would give to her kids when they’re out of line and replied, “I was never male.”

It's called a penis.
It’s called a penis.

As he stumbled over his words and tried to make a coherent sentence, I asked if it was medically relevant to my mental health? Mind you, if he had read my intake paperwork, or had any familiarity with trans patients, he’d have know without asking. He said it was, because some of the drugs have sexual side effects, including erectile dysfunction. 

And once again, I had to come back to Trans 101 and explain that a decent percentage of trans women who are post-op or non-op have issues with getting or maintaining an erection. Because of the use of anti-androgens, such as Spironolactone, our testosterone levels are typically lower than the average cis woman. I explained that mine were normally somewhere in the 8-12 range, on a scale of 8-55 for cis women, cis men having a much higher range from ~300-1000 (ng/dL). 

I went on to explain that there was a much better way to ask those questions to a trans person. I suggested, “Do you still have a penis?” Or even better “Do you still have testicles?” 

From that point on, I pretty much checked out on this dude. Especially when he started to show me facebook pictures of his sister’s lesbian wedding on his phone. Because, you know I’m a lesbian, so we must all lesbian together. Or something. 

In the end, he had two cardboard boxes of some drug called “Trintellix” of which he rummaged through and gave me two sample bottles. He basically claimed it to be the best stuff on the planet and that a number of his patients had seen improvements in 1-3 days. Which is odd, because my understanding of SSRI’s is that they usually take a couple weeks to build up a normal level in your system. He wants to see me back in two weeks.

Sorry, I think I’ll skip it. 

And there is grace within forgiveness…

And there is grace within forgiveness…

But it’s so hard for me to find

Today was a good day. I felt useful for a change. In working with Chris Hartman, Executive Director of Fairness Campaign, we’ve always discussed ways that we might take my story of discrimination and harassment at AT&T more public. Today, I made a speech at the Kentucky Fairness Rally in the middle of the Capitol. The media was there as well as tons of supporters from all walks of life. I wanted to let AT&T know why Statewide Fairness is so important. Because if they’re not going to consistently enforce their own non-discrimination policies, then they should be held accountable. That they have an obligation to all of their employees. “DO BETTER,” I say.  

While the news coverage didn’t include any of my actual speech, I did get a couple seconds on TV. You can see it here.

For the sake of posterity, I want to share my actual speech. I know I deviated in a couple places, but only in phrasing. 

Hi, everyone! My name is Addison Newton, and I’m proud to be here in the capitol as we continue to fight for both LGBT and workers’ rights in Kentucky!

I’m also proud to say that my union, the Communications Workers of America, has been fighting for my rights too! When I came out as a transgender woman at my job at AT&T, I faced a lot of difficulties. Even though my company has pretty good LGBT policies, what I learned is that no one in my workplace really knew how to implement them or had any idea what being transgender meant.

For the next several weeks, AT&T scrambled to figure out where I should go to the bathroom and how to explain to other employees about my transition. It was embarrassing, demeaning, and it shouldn’t have been that difficult. As time progressed, I encountered misgendering on a regular basis, by both staff and management alike. The general manager of my office vehemently refused to refer to me as female. Intent on having me fired, she conspired with another manager who followed me around town. Throughout all of this, I’ve had constant support from my CWA Local 3310.  As I saw how the company responded, I decided that I wanted to help other members and I became a job steward.

I’m very proud to be a member of CWA. The leadership has stood by my side every step of the way. We’ve worked tirelessly to hold my employer accountable and sending a message that each and every employee’s needs and safety are truly valued. Most likely, I wouldn’t be here today if not for the support of my union siblings. I want to thank them, especially local vice-president, Larry Gardner, who is here with me today.

However, even with the power of the CWA behind me, fighting for ALL workers’ rights, it’s still not easy. Anti-transgender laws like Representative Nelson’s bathroom bills make it harder and more dangerous for transgender people to live our daily lives and meet our most basic needs. My difficulties with AT&T also illustrate how necessary it is for Kentucky to pass a Statewide Fairness Law. Because even the most well-intentioned corporate policy is no good if the company refuses to enforce it. A Statewide Fairness Law ensures that all businesses in our commonwealth are held to the same standard of respecting the basic dignity of all people, including our LGBT community. So, in closing, I would like to ask AT&T to join the 200 other Kentucky businesses in the Kentucky Competitive Workforce Coalition!

I’m a proud transgender woman, union member, and Kentuckian fighting for Fairness for all!

You’re feeling down, just like this town

You’re feeling down, just like this town

Let’s talk about my health. I don’t know if it’s mental health or physical health or some combination of the two. Who the hell knows at this point?

For the last few months, I’ve been fatigued and exhausted. It’s actually been going on since my GRS in May. For the first few months, I could just chalk it up to healing and all that. Then it was my hormone levels. Then it was my anti-depressants. 

I’ve been from Lexapro to Celexa and then on to Zoloft. This is on top of the Wellbutrin at it’s peak dosage. I take Trazodone at night to sleep — and sleep is something I do pretty well. I average 8 hours or more a night, most nights. I sleep pretty soundly. I might wake up once a night to go to the bathroom. 

I’ve been diagnosed by my endocrinologist as having Hashimoto’s Disease. It’s an autoimmune condition where the body attacks the thyroid. However, my endo checks my thyroid and all of my levels every couple months. He’s not currently treating it, saying it’s very minor. However, maybe this is why I want to go to sleep at my desk at work. Why I feel like I’ve been awake for 36 hours, all of the time?

Eh. I think I’m dying. WebMD agrees. FML;JK. 

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story

(Edit: 2/3/2017 — I’m posting this from drafts. I had intended to add more to this, but as I started it around New Years, and it’s not been edited for weeks, I think it’s time to just throw it out there.) 

 

So much is happening. I don’t even know where to start. In my last entry, I spoke about the company’s offer to relocate me. They formally invited me to apply and accept the same job, but in Atlanta. As politely as I could, I declined the position. 

I reiterated my reasoning. I wanted them to know why I wasn’t willing to move to Atlanta. I wanted them to know that I’m not trying to be difficult. I cited the following: 

  • Atlanta is (arguably) no better than Louisville for a transgender woman. Much like Louisville, Atlanta is a liberal enclave within a very conservative state. The majority of people in the state are voting for people who want to make my public existence illegal. Statistically speaking, there would be any number of these people working along side me. 
  • If I went there, I would be going stealth. I wouldn’t be disclosing my trans status to anyone in the building. However, my ability to be stealth would be totally dependent on management being able to keep my personal business private. Based on my experience with local management, I don’t see how that’s possible. 
  • A “voluntary” relocation would require me to stay in that position for 24 months. I asked, rhetorically, “What happens when this starts all over again?”  I’d be trapped. 
  • Atlanta has a higher cost of living, but my rate of pay would be the same. 
  • The company has no obligation to provide any relocation budget. 

There’s other reasons too. Like the fact that going further into the deep south to get away from discrimination seems ludicrous. The company asked me where I wanted to go, and that short list did not include any of the South East states. I felt like I was better off staying where I was, because at least I knew what to expect. 

The impression that I got from the conference call I had on Tuesday was that the company took my decline as a rebuff. I say that because all of the sudden, they’re talking about my 2015 year-end performance and the not yet finalized 2016 year-end data. My argument was that my performance was impacted by the harassment throughout 2015 and up until April of 2016. I missed half of April, all of May, and the majority of June. They said that if I don’t accept the job in Atlanta that I may not be able to be considered for other positions within the company because of my performance numbers. This is not unlike what I was told in 2015. That because I had discipline in my file for performance, I couldn’t transfer. At this point, I’ve been able to get all active discipline out of my personnel file. Now the company comes up with a new excuse. 

What the company doesn’t seem to understand is that you can’t use my workplace performance results as a qualifier for allowing or disallowing harassment. That is, I’m an employee and they have an obligation to protect all employees. Regardless of their metrics. The conversation was very disheartening. I’m looking into pursuing other external avenues in which I might be able to gain the company’s captive attention. Going to the media or filing an actual lawsuit. I’m waiting on some responses on some leads I contacted. 

Colly Strings

Colly Strings

A pity invitation to an awkward house,
For pseudo-boy that would rather wear a blouse.
I sincerely saw your skin for the very first time.

My curly hair and a voting booth,
Confessedly, this is the first time I’ve loved you.
And God I mean, God I mean it, I hope that I mean it.

Once again, I’m standing on a proverbial ledge — just kicking rocks over the side, looking down. Someone told me today that they wanted my life. I laughed a little laugh, replying “My life is very messy right now.” This is probably the understatement of the century. My life is more like the white water rapids and all I’ve got is some floaties to keep my head above water. 

It’s no secret that I’ve been unhappy in my job for some time. In more ways than one. The normal way, is just like my coworkers, the work is shit. However, we all show up for that paycheck. Those benefits. That PTO. A lot of us are like, just a couple more months.. or another year. Always with this expectation that we’re going to do something better with our lives. Sure, ok. But the way I’m different from my co-workers is that I’ve been asking to be transferred out for over a year due to the recurring issues in the workplace. 

I mentioned this in my last entry, the company had approached me with the idea of relocating to Miami, Atlanta or New Orleans. Today I took a call with HR that said that if I would consider it, that I had a 99.9% chance of having a position in Miami or Atlanta. I didn’t say no, but I didn’t say yes. I said I would think about it. I just don’t want to move to another red state and essentially jump from the fire into the frying pan. Atlanta has a nondiscrimination ordinance that protects gender identity, but the state doesn’t. Miami is the same. With the emboldened confidence of the GOP, I suspect that many other states are going to try and force HB2-esque bills through the state house and into law. This would invalidate the city ordinances.  

I acknowledge that this is not “the company’s” fault, they can’t control the whims of lawmakers (please hold your laughter.) They can’t be held accountable to the states in which they operate. Their position is that the company has a very comprehensive policy pertaining to discrimination. This is the part where I laugh. Or at least chuckle.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Honestly, I don’t understand why it’s so important to the company that I stay within the same bargaining unit. There’s not a state in the bargaining unit that’s better than where I am already. When you consider the shit I’ve gone through in the current state, it’s like why trade one shithole for another? I just don’t think it’s worth the effort of uprooting everything in my life to take a gamble on going further into the deep south. Or past the deep south into Miami, which is probably going to be underwater in the next 4 years, given our political electorate’s position on climate change. 

I’m really hoping I get a call or email or carrier pigeon on the Providence job. I am probably going to look for jobs there with the competitor. Since they’re the incumbent provider in that area, there’s probably more options in or around Rhode Island. On the other hand there’s a fear that they’ll actually want me. Then I have to figure out what to do with the house and everything else in it. #puke

Related, one of my best friends just bought a dealership in Dallas. I really liked Dallas. The political climate is arguably the worst, second only to maybe North Carolina. I had messaged him, congratulating him on his continued success. At one of the previous jobs that he held, he had tried to get me to come down and work for him again. At the time, I was married and I knew that Megan would never go back to Texas. However, I’m now divorced and I’m hungry for change. The years that I worked for him were arguably some of the best times I ever had. I loved my job, I was excited to go to it (most mornings.) I didn’t mind working 80 hours, because a lot of the time, it didn’t seem like work. Also because I knew that I was taken care of, that I was appreciated, and that there there was mutual respect between he and I. Of course, now that I’ve transitioned, I wonder about how that might impact our dynamic. I know that when a mutual colleague of ours had made a shitty trans joke at my expense, he went ballistic on the guy. I hope that carries. I just know that the last time we were face-to-face, he seemed distant. I remember crying on the way home because I felt like I lost one of the most devoted friends that I’d ever made. I would like to think that it’s just because we’re 1000 miles apart and we’ve just drifted. That things could still be the same if I was there every day. In any event, I was texting with his wife, saying that I wished we had never left. I’d have stayed there if Megan hadn’t wanted to move back home. She said she wished we never moved either and that my friend needed me more now than ever. To which I replied, tell him to make me an offer. I’ve not heard anything from them since, but if a reasonable offer came through, I’d probably jump all over it. 

I’d be less worried about the state level protections if I was working for him. I think he’d give me a fair shake and if there were issues with others in the workplace, that he would choose me over them. If they’re in the wrong, of course. I think Dallas has a nondiscrimination ordinance, too. On top of that, with all my documents updated at the state and federal level, I can’t imagine having a problem outside of the workplace. I don’t get misgendered in public, only other trans people clock me. We’ve got this transdar that picks up on everything. And I’ve got a fresh set of tits. #winning

Going to Dallas would close the door on the saga of Kayla and I. I admit that I have some far fetched idea that if was to end up in New England, that there might be an opportunity to open a new dialogue. The bridge is burned, but I own tools. I know that’s a dumb hope to hold on to, but we were talking about being together in the nursing home. I was going to propose to her, perhaps sooner than she might have wanted me to. I threw that away in a drunk discussion and then sober hardheadedness. I doubled down on a shitty idea and I got just that, shit. I know she’s going to read this, but I hope she doesn’t. 

I’m listening to “23” by Jimmy Eat World. I’ve loved this song since it came out in 2004. I was 24 at the time, but close enough to 23 that I could relate. The lyrics speak to me. 

Amazing still it seems
I’ll be 23
I won’t always love what I’ll never have
I won’t always live in my regrets

I need a person to follow me around and give me good advice all day. Where do I get that? I need a Kif. Jesus, does that make me Zapp Brannigan? That’s kind of gross. Ok, it’s nearly 4 am, I’m going to meet my mom at Waffle House for breakfast and then take my ex, my kids and her mom to the airport for them to go to Disney. Dueces. 

Transatlanticism

Transatlanticism

All I see are dark grey clouds
In the distance moving closer with every hour.
So when you ask “Was something wrong?”,
That I think “You’re damn right there is but we can’t talk about it now.
No, we can’t talk about it now.”

So I’ve not written in a while. I’ve just been in too much of funk that I couldn’t manage it. Funk is the wrong word, the phrase I’ve used a few times when talking to friends has been “mind-crippling depression.” I’m still very depressed, but I think I’ve pulled myself from the worst of it. The ideation has passed. I was going to say it was gone, but I know that at some point, sooner or later it’ll come back. 

I still spend an enormous amount of time thinking about Kayla. I really do. I was (am) very much in love with her. I keep thinking all the things I could have done differently, but none of that will help me now. I think that’s the hardest part. It’s like having murdered someone and having to sit in a cell every day and replay those events in your head. For me, the cell is my own brain. It’s not a place one would want to visit. It’s the exit on the interstate that you skip when you’re looking for a bathroom.  

Kayla had posted an idea of what her prime timeline looks like, with her doing successful things in Rhode Island, having never left. When I talked to her about it, I explained that in my headcanon, that timeline has me in Rhode Island with her. Everything is fine. I surmised that the two timelines had split the day we flipped a bottle cap to see which of us was going to move. In the darkest timeline, she came here and it played out as it has. In the prime timeline, I moved to her and everything is going well. 

I want to be on the prime timeline in a bad way. 

So the thought of leaving this place is again popping up. The only thing that kept me from leaving before was Kayla coming here. My reasons for leaving were only partly to be with her. They were also for me to have a chance to start over fresh without so much “dead me” baggage. This has come up due to my company finally starting to come around to the idea of transferring me out of the worksite. Since there aren’t any other call centers in Louisville with my company, they asked if I would consider moving to Atlanta, Miami or New Orleans. After doing some research, I’ve determined that no, I would not really consider that. I asked for something in a blue state. Somewhere that has statewide protections for trans people. I’ve been scanning the company’s open positions and I found a few that were interesting. I even applied to be a Store Manager at one of our corporate owned retail stores, in Providence of all places. 

It feels weird to consider going to Providence and not be there with Kayla. It feels backwards. It feels like dating your best friend’s ex-girlfriend. In any event, I don’t think that I would be even considered for that job. I’d been applying for assistant manager positions in Louisville and couldn’t get a call back. As John Cusack said in High Fidelity, ” It was like trying to borrow a dollar, getting turned down, and asking for fifty grand instead.” 

But whatever. But… what if they say yes. Then what the fuck do I do? I guess I’ll figure it out if that happens. 

It’s nearly 2am, I had to take a phone call when I was really focused on this. I’ve lost that focus, so I’m going to just cut it off right now. 

Black Sun

Black Sun

“There is whisky in the water
And there is death upon the vine
And there is grace within forgiveness
But it’s so hard for me to find”

This is an entry that’s hard for me to write. I debated writing anything at all, but this blog is my story, for better or worse. So, right… 

i am a huge fucking idiot.

There, I said it. I broke up with Kayla. We were facing an issue that needed to be dealt with. She offered a solution, I dismissed it immediately and said that I didn’t see that it was a long term sustainable solution. Thus ending our relationship as we knew it. I let it marinate for a couple days. I had serious remorse of the decisions I had made. I tried to make those known, in an attempt to save the relationship. Alas, it was too late. She left Kentucky this past weekend and headed back to New England, this time to Maine. 

From when she left up until now, I’ve been devastated. There’s no amount of antidepressants in the known universe that could have kept me top side in this moment. With the exception of going to work, I’ve been hiding in my bed ever since. I’ve come home and put the same shirt and sweatpants on, cried, watched tv and tweeted sad sad drivel. I’m not eating. I’m not sleeping. When I do sleep, I have the most bizarre dreams which usually have me in some sort of peril. No matter how much I hate to admit it, I’ll say that I’ve been suicidal. Still am to a certain extent. There’s no gestures or any plans made, but it’s there. It’s scary. It’s like this little nagging thought in the back of your mind that keeps pestering you. 

It doesn’t help when you’re being bitched at by customers for telling the truth and being 100% honest with them. To have them tell you that you’re a bitch and “fuck you very much” before hanging up. That kind of thing is mentally exhausting on a good day. On a day like today, it’s all you can do to keep it all together and not start crying with the customer on the line. 

At some point, I’m going to have to let it all go and just resign myself that I’ve fucked it up. That no matter what I do now, I can’t get mend what I’ve broken. That I may have lost the person that I love very much, forever. Considering how much time and effort I invested convincing her to come here in the first place, it’s hard to let it go. With such a drastic change in locale, it’s not like I could give it a few weeks and then show up on her doorstep and grovel. 

i hate myself.