Sign Out To Meeting

In my workplace, a manager coming to your desk and telling you to sign out to meeting after you finish your call is normally a good sign that discipline is coming down. It’s not something you normally want to hear.

However, in my case… I’m ready to have my own meeting. The classic “Come to Jesus” meeting, so to speak. I’ve touched on this issue before, but never really going into depth about it. My problem is that despite having transitioned in early 2015, with 17 months full time on the job, the people I work with and for still can’t seem to get it right.  I was out of the office today on union business, but on Monday alone, I was misgendered by 3 different people. One member of management and two craft employees. (Note: I started this draft last week.)

Since coming out, I’ve had a number of issues within the office. I’ve taken the worst of them to human resources as well as our ethics complaint line. The complaints were for harassment, discrimination and retaliation. However, there’s always been a concern of how these claims were dealt with. Due to confidentiality regulations, I could never be debriefed on the actual disposition of my complaint. I could make an assumption, but there’d be no real closure. I feel like it’s a major transparency issue for the company.

Despite it all, it’s still continuing. It doesn’t really seem to be improving. I’ve repeatedly asked human resources to transfer me into another workcenter where I can go stealth and no one would need know about my gender identity. This would allow me to leave that lingering residue of my old identity behind. I’ve requested it from my ERM (Employee Resource Manager), my first level supervisor as well as my second level manager. I’ve made requests through the union and they’ve approached management regarding it. No one has ever said “No.” It’s always that they’re waiting on an answer from someone else. Who this person might be is a mystery to me.

So my “Come to Jesus” meeting is really quite simple. My feelings are that the company has not taken the appropriate actions to curb the microaggressions and misgendering within the workcenter. Nor have they moved me out of the workcenter. They’ve failed to hold up their own policies. They have failed to take reasonable measures to protect me, so that I can do my job.

Both of these things are well within the means of the company. They don’t place any undue burden or hardship on the company. They do not hinder the needs of the business. If anything, they lend to the needs of the business, because I’d be able to spend more of my time working and less of it speaking with human resources and the ethics hotline.

My feeling is that the company doesn’t care. They want to be ranked highly on the HRC reports and be known as one of the top LGBT friendly companies. However, when it comes down to brass tacks, their words ring hollow. In my opinion, the company could care less. The meeting would allow me to understand if my assumptions are correct. Assuming they are true, then my next course of action would be to consult with a lawyer who specializes in the EEO, discrimination and harassment claims. What else is left?

#PlotTwist

Right, so I had written something like 1500 words about a month ago. I rewrote it 2 weeks ago and even was trying to revise it to post Thursday the 7th. I’m thankful that I never did quite get it finished because everything has changed since then.

In a recently published entry, I had written that I was leaning heavily towards leaving Kentucky and moving to New England. In reality, it wasn’t that I was leaning towards it. I was going to leave, but like cooking live lobster you have to ease people’s minds into that idea. Even with it being just a hypothetical situation, that revelation was met with criticism amongst other things. There was a lot to be said about it. I think I lost more than one facebook friend as a result. I was obviously very broken up about that. #ByeFelicia

On the other hand, the only thing that I was grappling with was prospect of leaving my children behind. It was the hardest decision, but I was going to do it and hope for the best. I had intentions of trading access to my family for a chance at a fresh beginning in a new place with a new person. It was the truest idea of bittersweet. The idea of starting over for a trans person is not uncommon. We seem to all yearn to leave behind the husks of our old selves. To be surrounded by people who never knew you by any other name or gender.

Even now, 19 or so months into my transition and over 16 months full time, I still find that I am “he, I mean she” or worse, just “he.” To some people I will never be more than what I was before Addison. Even worse, is being outed by people that I know. They find it their job to tell people who have not yet met me that “she used to be a man” or “she’s trans” or whatever. Fuck that. In my experience, once a new person has that knowledge, they seem to lose their ability to gender you correctly 100% of the time. Each “he” feels like a shiv to the back. Not deep enough to kill you, but enough to make you bleed. A lot.

With the divorce paperwork submitted to the judge to be finalized, I was looking at the prospect of selling as much stuff as possible, giving away the rest and leaving with just my clothes and personal effects.  For two reasons, one was to get the new beginning and be somewhere that I could be Addison with no previous preconceptions or baggage. Where I could go to work and do my job and not be harassed or disrespected. The other was somewhat simpler, something that most everyone can appreciate.. I’m in love.

However, major components of the that plan crumbled over this weekend. I’m saying that in the best way possible. I’m not leaving. While I won’t get my fresh start, I’ll get the love and my relationship with my children. I’m very excited about what the future holds for my family.

“So what had happened was….”

Kayla and I met on Twitter in the latter part of last year. What had started off as some casual likes and retweets became some discourse, along with some banter and it sort of evolved over time. The conversations became longer and they covered all sorts of topics. Feelings on my part emerged quickly, but I kept silent about that for some time. However, much to my surprise, those feelings were mutual. The only problem was the distance. She in Rhode Island and me in Kentucky.

So when we finally met in early summer, neither was 100% what to expect. We made a deal that if either of us wasn’t feeling it, we’d speak up. The initial meet up was awkward, but soon the ice melted and we both deeply enjoyed each others company. We had a great weekend and it ended too soon.

Before we had met face to face, I had asked her if she would consider moving to Kentucky but she was fairly vehemently opposed to the idea. She gave me a myriad of very good and valid reasons. I had put that idea to rest. Megan had even reached out to her and taken a shot at attempting to convince her, but to no avail.

Megan wanted to meet her. The stated reason was that if this person was going to be around her children, she wanted to know her first. In reality, that was but a small portion of her intent. She wanted Kayla to meet the children and I assumed she was going to take Kayla on an all expense paid trip to Guiltsville. No matter the intent, I totally welcomed the opportunity to be together again. So, I arranged for her to come down. With that we began the countdown.

I picked her up at the airport late that Friday evening, with the intention of spending more time together. We both were feeling very confident that we wanted to be together, but we felt this visit would cement things as much as possible. As planned, I would be starting the arduous process of moving to Providence. Alas, plans are sometimes better on paper.

We had an amazing weekend together, enjoying each other’s company. We had great food, were entertained by the children and continued to learn more and more about each other. Her and I, along with Megan and the kids went to the Louisville Science Center. During that visit, Megan and her sat down to talk. I was not invited or privy to the details. As I would learn later, I hadn’t given Megan enough credit for her salesmanship.

By the time the afternoon drew to a close, I could tell Kayla was heavily in thought. Once we were alone in the car, she started talking about moving to Louisville. At first, I didn’t take her talk serious, because she had previously had this discussion but then decided against it. She told me that during the conversation at the museum, Megan had excused herself to use the restroom. While Megan was gone, Kayla said that Hunter decided to share his food with her. Holding his hand out for her and then dropping a puff into her hand. I had never seen Hunter share his food with anyone. She said that was the moment where she started to come around to the idea of being here.

As the discussion progressed further, I realized this was a real thing. Initially, Kayla told me that she couldn’t make that decision, but she would move here if I asked her to. At that point, I started to cry. Not of joy, because I didn’t want to be the determining factor that took her away from her friends, her career and her political aspirations. In the end, we decided to not make any decisions that night. Instead, we got dressed up in our black dresses and heels, put on our lipstick and went out to a lovely dinner.

On Sunday, we talked more about it. I still was not pressuring her to move here. I wanted it to be her decision. I told her that in a perfect world that yes, I did want her to move here. I explained that it would make things much easier for me, but it would mean her giving up a lot of things. Ultimately, we let fate decide. We flipped a cap from a bottle of Amber Bock. Looking back, I don’t know that it would have mattered if it came up the other way, but that was that. She said “Welp, looks like I’m moving to fucking Kentucky. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯”

It was an emotional afternoon. We steamed up a huge dinner of crab legs and potatoes and proceeded to eat ourselves toward a food coma. There was some what of a strange feeling in the air. I was content with this new arrangement, but she was still grappling with the decision she had just made. We also had a conversation regarding the appropriate time to tell Megan. Initially, I thought we should wait until certain things were more concrete.

In the end, We decided to tell Megan and I called her later that evening. She was sitting down for a late dinner at a restaurant, so I made it a short call. I told her that I was not leaving and that Kayla was going to move here to be with me. She was ecstatic and just said “thank you thank you thank you thank you.” I told her we’d talk more later and to enjoy her dinner.

Monday was bittersweet, because Kayla had to go back to Providence. This time there were less tears when we were saying our goodbyes, because we knew it was just a temporary situation. A means to an end. A time for her to get her affairs in order. For me it would be an opportunity to get the house cleaned up in such a way that it would be ready for her. It was important to make sure that she could come here and make a home that she enjoyed. To ensure that she wasn’t trying to dig out a place in the ruins of the marriage of Megan and I.

With that in mind, I will fly from Louisville International Airport after work on the evening of Friday, August 26th arriving at nearly 1am on Saturday at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick. In the morning, when daylight comes, Kayla and I will drive out of Rhode Island on our way through Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio before crossing the Ohio River back into the bluegrass state. I am certain that this will be a very emotional journey for Kayla. To leave a place she had said she was never leaving just months ago will be hard. I will be eternally indebted to her for that sacrifice and I am so humbled by that.

I am so excited about this next chapter in our lives. Only time will tell where the story takes us, but the words “So dust off your highest hopes” that Taylor Swift sang in “Everything Has Changed” ring so true right now. My biggest hope is that everyone will welcome Kayla, because I love her very much and her happiness here is of paramount importance to me. <3

Much more to come….

This is not the post you’re looking for

As my stepfather is keen to saying “I’ll get right on that, right after I eat this grapefruit.” But there’s never any grapefruit to be found. I think that’s the point.

Right, so. I was just driving my car home last night and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I thought, “Wow, I made it.”

Speaking specifically to my other trans friends that sometime read my drivel, do any of you feel like that? As in, we made it through the darkest times, the most awkward parts, the constant barrage of questions and at the end, here we are. On the downward slope of transition?

I know some of my trans friends have a hard time remembering what it was like before transition. It’s a sort of fuzzy memory. You know it happened, but you can’t really explain the particulars any longer. Now, myself, I haven’t quite come to that place. Perhaps, I never will. I have a tendency to live in the past. I used to assume that the Jimmy Eat World song “23” was written for me. That line that says, “I won’t always live in my regrets” rang true to me. While I still think the rest of the song feels relevant, that line no longer means what it meant.

I haven’t forgotten what the pre-Addison life was about. Honestly, I remember important moments in my life in an almost HD perfect clarity kind of way. Honestly, I don’t know that I want to lose that. I’m sure age will take that from me, but I don’t think transition will be the culprit. Many trans people want to argue about who they were back then and what that means. I try not to get caught up in that part. I only ask that my friends and family, when regaling others with the tales of my vivid past, they respect my pronouns and my name. Just because I was referred to differently at the time, doesn’t mean that I want that to be a part of the story.

In any event, the part that my friends mentioned aside from the fuzzy memory was that they had achieved a sense of normalcy. That the person they are now is the new normal. Moving past the obstacles of transition, navigating shitty healthcare providers, awkward conversations with HR and bosses and the sometimes inevitable changes in the dynamic between you and your family or friends… or both. That having survived that part and surviving the period of limbo. Passing through the phase where you’re still baby trans, freshly hatched from the egg of acceptance, that you have reached peak trans and now the high water mark is receding.

That you are you and no one can dictate that except you. Other people, be it family, co-workers, friends, enemies or people on the internet, don’t define you. They can’t change you. That you are done with all that. Having set all that stuff aside, you look into the horizon and you see the rest of your life to live as you deem correct. You made it.

Out there and back

I don’t even know what I want to write. I just know I wanted to put something in text. Things are weird in my mind right now. Megan and I are talking about our futures apart and I’m trying to imagine my life, moving forward from here.

I’ve gone through the five stages with the marriage thing… I’ve been angry, I’ve been in denial. I tried bargaining. There’s certainly been depression, but for now, I’ve just accepted it as an inevitability. Something that’s kind of been drawn out maybe longer than it need be. There were reasons, like her being able to come with me to California as my spouse, my medical proxy, my caregiver.  However, we’re more like besties than lovers at this point. She says she wants to still be able to come over and have sleepovers and whatnot. We’ll see.

As for me, I have sort of a rough idea of what I’d ideally like to do, to simplify my life and get back to basics. The broad strokes are:

  • Sell the boat.
  • Take that money and finish the Jeep.
  • With the Jeep running, sell my car. (eliminating debt and lowering insurance.)
  • Sell the house.
  • Take that money and buy or build some form of tiny house. (No more mortgage.)

At that point, all I’d have left is credit card debt, land lease cost, utilities and child support. Getting rid of that extra overhead might allow me to explore other options for work, location and my overhead quality of life. I’ve spent so many years working to buy stuff, chasing happiness through possessions. Shit that didn’t make me happy (for long.) I have owned 18 different cars/trucks in about as many years. Plus the boat, the jet ski, the scooter, etc, etc. It’s fleeting.

I want to get back to basics. I want to be able to cook, listen to music, and relax. Spend more time enjoying the company of others. Less time lying about.

At the same time, I’ve also considered moving somewhere else and starting over. Somewhere a bit more trans friendly than Kentucky. I’ve looked at options to make my tiny house mobile. My biggest concern is, of course, my children. I want to be in their lives. There’s nowhere geographically close to Louisville that’s more trans friendly. Indiana – No, Ohio – Nope, Tennessee – HAHAHAH. No. Chicago is probably the closest. For the really decent places, you have to go far west, or to the northeast.  As it is, I have a newfound interest in the northeast. My interest is less of the place and more because of the people. Of course when I say people, I mean a person. However, from where I’m sitting, she might as well live in freaking Narnia.

I try and convince myself that the ideas in my head are probably better than the reality. I truly am a pragmatist in the brain. However, my heart is a hopeless romantic. There’s not much I won’t do for someone’s affection. With my marriage, the only thing I could do to save it was the one thing that was going to kill me in the long term.  So here we are.  From out there and back.

Ok, this is total drivel and I’m going to stop now.

Post-op: A 20 Day Review

Sidenote: I started this a couple days ago and fell asleep while writing it… Woops. I incremented the days in the title to reflect this.

I’ve been home for about 12 days now and I keep intending to write something… However, sitting in my desk chair is uncomfortable and I don’t really like typing on my laptop keyboard for any length of time, but whatever. I feel like the longer I wait, the less likely that I’ll write anything.

As a bit of fore-warning, I am probably going to be a bit graphic. As such, proceed with caution, depending on your comfort level.

I’m exhausted. Just all the time. Severe lethargy. It seems like the less I do, the more tired I am. Likewise, my pain levels have elevated as well. I guess healing is energy intensive. Who would have thought?

From a healing perspective, things  seem to be mending well, with only one notable exception.  Last Saturday, I popped a stitch. I had noticed the end of the thread had been hanging out since the hotel stay in California, however it didn’t seem to be a big issue. However, the evening, it was totally out.  With the stitch out, the seam of the wound separated.

Monday, I scheduled an appointment with my primary care physician to have her take a look at it. She examined it and she tried to calm my nerves. She said that it has a bottom and it’s not tunneling inside my body, which is a good thing, she also mentioned that the area couldn’t be restitched due to the fragileness of the tissue.

Her suggestion was to stop doing so much. Which she was right. The problem is,  I had been feeling good and I thought I could do more. With that feeling good, the body had not been as responsive as maybe it should be. I can only describe it like getting a sunburn. You really don’t notice until it’s far far too late.

Additionally, she attempted to take stress off the tissue by pulling the skin together and securing it with SteriStrips. The problem with the strips is that when I pee, because everything is kind of swollen still, my pee runs everywhere before it falls subject to gravity. The bulk runs down my labia on either side and then follows that path towards my butt. The wound is at the entrance of the vaginal canal, where it meets the perineum. So when the strips get wet, they lose their adhesion and they come loose. Walking will do the same to a certain extent, especially with a little bit of sweat mixed in with some discharge.   My solution has been to just keep my butt in bed as much as possible.

However, by Wednesday evening, the wound looked like it had gotten larger. I was scared, I was crying… I was inconsolable. Terrified that I was going to ruin everything or end up with some sort of flesh eating infection in my vag, I was just a mess. So I emailed my PCP and explained that it seemed to be getting bigger. Her medical assistant, who’s awesome, called me the next morning and told me to come back in so they could take another look.

So I went in and she was relieved when she saw it, because I guess I had concerned her that it was much larger. She did confirm that yes, it was bigger, and the split had actually gotten into the vaginal tissue. However, she also said that it had tapered itself in such a way that she didn’t expect it to continue to separate further.

Since then, aside from a couple of trips out for food and then Hunter’s 1st Birthday Party, I’ve stayed in bed, on the couch, or sitting on the patio (as I am now). Even the party, I spent the majority of it in a lazyboy with my feet up. This has led to some fairly dramatic healing of the area. I’m sure it’ll be weeks to a month before it’s fully closed. Which is concerning if I’m supposed to go back to work in 2ish weeks. I don’t move much at work, but I have to walk nearly 2 blocks each way to the parking garage and walk up and down 4 flights of steps.

Likewise, the 3x daily dilation regimen will be difficult to maintain with some duration between the 2nd and 3rd. If I get dilate before work, that’d be around 9am. I wouldn’t be able to dilate again until about 8pm and then again around midnight. Basically means I’ll lose 1.5-2 hours that I could be spending with family/friends in my already short evening.

As for the pain, I’m still in a lot of pain most of the time. One would think that the pain would be between my legs, inside the actual vagina, or the wound separation. However, the bulk of the pain is in the pubic area. There’s no visible bruising, but deep down in the tissue, it’s miserable. I’ve just finished my 2nd bottle of percocet since being discharged and I haven’t been taking as much as I would like. I’ve tried replacing it with high dose ibuprofen and it only takes the edge off. Might bring 7-8 pain to a 4 or so.

Still waiting on my surgical declaration letter from Dr. Bowers. I want to get my birth certificate updated before Governor Bevin realizes that it’s legal for me to do so. My luck, he’ll repeal the law in an emergency special session.

More later, stay tuned.

Summer Skin

As the dressings were removed, I felt the new life I’ve been leading had been validated. In reality, it was the same life. It just looked different to everyone else. I felt like it wasn’t me that radically changed, but the perception of me. Yet, we all changed in some ways; as we struggled to evolve and adapt to our conditions and environment. I desperately wanted everything, yet nothing to change. Likewise, while the unveiling was something that I took in with satisfaction and joy, not everyone shared that sentiment.

In any event, while grooves were being worn in the waiting room floor, cuts were made, stitches placed and the scalpels washed and put away. Just two days later I stood for the first time on wobbly knees, nurses on either side. She sat on the couch in front of me, watching on as the staff attempted to wrestle panties around the catheter bag and line while simultaneously keeping me from teetering over onto my face.

During this spectacle, I noticed a drop of blood hit the floor, followed by another. When I looked up, she had averted her eyes; her hand shielding her face as if to protect it from the sun. My concern immediately turned from my own predicament onto her, asking what was wrong.

“I can’t look,” came her reply.

My heart sank somewhere beyond the pit of my stomach. A rush of emotions fueled by hormones and Percocet convinced my brain that this was it. The moment where she could no longer look at my body or me. As the nurses finally wrestled my undergarments into compliance, tears crept from duct to cheek. As I waddled out of the room and down the long corridor, I considered how it had gotten to this place.  How I could be so blind, so stupid.

Once I had completed my victory lap of the 4th floor, I returned to my room. I mumbled through my emotions, asking if it was me, the vagina or the blood. She assured me that it was simply the blood and that she was squeamish. I felt somewhat relieved, but my confidence still shaken to the core.

Somehow, I feel a little more alone now. No matter the proximity. Nothing will ever be like it was before, not for anyone. Everything changes. Just somethings more drastic than others.

‘Cause the seasons change was a conduit

And we left our love in our summer skin

Euphoria

I tried to think of an appropriate title for this entry.. Like I’ve had this window open for about 30 minutes trying to come up with the a title. In the end, one word was all it took, and it fits perfectly.

So yesterday, I woke up at about 6am. Still partly wired for east coast time and also just being a whole ball of nerves, feels, and other emotions. The day that I have been dreaming of for years and decades and lifetimes had finally arrived. Overcoming all adversity in my way, I had arrived at the finish line and all that was left was to step through the ribbon.

I don’t know that a non-trans person can ever fully understand what this means for someone like me. I don’t know that I could ever articulate it in such a way that would convey the complete story.

Finally getting out of bed at around nine after dozing in and out of consciousness, I bathed for the last time with a special antibacterial soap that hospital had provided.  I shaved my penis, scrotum, and pubic area; forgoing my legs and armpits for once.  I brushed my hair and dressed in a light sundress. I decided that I no longer needed to tuck, for in a couple hours I would no longer have anything to tuck.

We arrived at the hospital just before 10:30am. I checked in at admission and she directed me to the surgical department on the main level. We waited about 10 minutes here, before we were led out of the waiting room. From here, I was weighed and moved into a post-op room and put on my surgical gown. I signed all my final releases and we waited. and waited. and waited. Surgery was originally scheduled for noon. We were notified about 11:55 that we were going to be moved back to 12:30 due to a delays. Dr. Bowers came by, as well as the OR nurse and the Anesthesiologist. My pre-op nurse told me that Dr. Bowers makes the prettiest vaginas and my wife was going to be jealous. I said, “I’m ok with that”.

At, 1:14PM pacific time, I was rolled into operating room #2 at Mills-Peninsula Hospital. The OR nurse, whose name was Megan, introduced me to a couple other people who would be assisting. They had me verify why I was there and what surgery I was having. Being caught off guard, I said GRS, Genital uhhh rea-re-uh-reconstructive surgery. Close enough, right?

They pushed my gurney up against the operating table and had me slide over. The table had a oval hole/indention in it and I was instructed to slide my butt down to the edge. The put arm boards out and then strapped me down to the table. At that point, the anesthesiologist started to run his IV line into my left hand, where it still remains at this time. He hung fluids and then proceeded to administer a sedative to relax me. He said “This is going to make you feel really good.” I closed my eyes for just a second…

And I woke up in the recovery room. It was just after 5PM. A brief panic rushed over me, and I couldn’t really get words out because my throat was so dry. But I managed to ask the nurse if the surgery happened. She confirmed that it had and everything was fine.

At that moment, the euphoria rushed over me. I smiled a huge smile, and some tears welled up in the corners of my eyes. It was as if every wrong in the universe had been righted, the stars had aligned and I was complete.  I pulled back the blanket and lifted my gown and peered down at my crotch and it was perfectly flat. I knew I had made the right decision and that this was what I needed to live my life fully.

innie

Deep in my own feels, I wanted Megan to be with me, but she wasn’t allowed in the recovery room.  Eventually, around 6PM they brought me to my room where I’ve been ever since. I’ve not been able to get up and walk. I’ve been playing on the internet and having ice packs on my crotch.

This afternoon, Dr. Bowers came to see me. She said that everything had gone well. Since I was not overly endowed, and due to some atrophy from lack of use, she had to be creative with the tissue in order to achieve adequate depth. She also said that the aesthetics are beautiful and that I’m going to be very happy with the end result.

So tomorrow, I will be able to unwrap my birthday present.  I’m pretty excited to see it, even in it’s swollen and bruised state. I’m hoping to get a shower in and maybe shuffle around the nurse’s station. While this bed is comfortable, I’m ready to be free of it’s pillowy bonds. Monday, I will head back to Dr. Bowers’ clinic for packing removal (the magic scarf trick) and instructions on how to dilate.  Provided no complications, I’ll be released from her care. Life goes on and I hope I to be part of it for a long time to come.

I apologize if this is rambling or incoherent. I think it’s time for me to take a nap.

Final Thoughts

The day has finally arrived. I can hardly believe it. Yesterday, Megan and I met with Dr. Bowers at her office in Burlingame. She was very friendly, asked questions, answered ours. She examined me and said that she didn’t think there would be any issues and that she expected the results to be very good. 

After that, we went down to the hospital and had my blood drawn one last time. From there, we picked up my bowel prep prescriptions as well as dropped off my post op prescriptions for antibiotics and pain killers. 

The rest of the afternoon I spent holed up in this hotel room, drinking a gallon of something called Go Lightly. I will tell you right now, that it is false advertising at best. A god-damn lie, I would proclaim. I’ll spare you the details, but food poisoning is about the same deal. 

Currently, it’s about 7:30 pacific time, and we check into the hospital in about 3 hours. I’m not nervous at all, not any more. I feel totally at ease with my decision and I’m comfortable with everything that’s about to happen. I suspect that as they’re starting the IV, I might get the jitters, but they have drugs for that. 

I don’t know when I’ll feel up to posting again, but I’ll try… 

Against all odds!

We’ve finally made it. Today is the day that Megan and I fly to California. On Tuesday, I will have my GRS. A lot of people have asked how I feel. Excited? Nervous?

Honestly, this past week and a half have been a roller coaster of emotions. With Joey’s suicide and that fallout there, that has been the primary concern. I also had to stop all my hormones about 2 weeks ago, and so I’m sure my attitude and mood have been impacted. On top of all that, I’ve started on antidepressants. Basically, I tried to make things as complicated as possible. Holden fuckin’ McNeil.

But anyway, I’m almost to the finish line of this journey. There were times that I wasn’t sure that I could make it, or that I would. The story is fraught with harassment, discrimination, and hurdles. I’ve sat in my car many mornings and cried.

I have to finish packing, so I have to cut this short, but I hope to do a better entry once we’re in Cali and then one post op.

and the grapevines seemed left for dead…

I’ve been meaning to update for some time. There’s so much happening right now, but it’s all running together at this point. The biggest thing going on right now is the worst thing also.

One of my very best friends committed suicide the other day. I’m finding myself left trying to pick up the pieces left in his wake. Once the initial shock passed, my first and most recurring thought is one of guilt. I think that I could have done more to have prevented this. I feel like we, his friends and I, saw the signs and we did nothing. Or not enough. Because that’s what we do. We act like nothing can ever happen and that everything will sort itself out.

Except it didn’t. My friend is dead. What’s there to sort out now? You can’t undo that. There’s no rewind. It’s all so surreal and odd. Just 30 minutes ago, on my way home from dinner with Megan, we passed his neighborhood…. and it’s just like “now what?”

My second feeling is one of anger. I’m upset with him for making such a drastic choice. While I’ve gathered that his problems were quite large and had snowballed into something with a life of it’s own, there was still a solution that wasn’t so final. A very permanent solution for a temporary problem. I’m mad that he didn’t reach out to anyone before ending his own life.

Of course, the other thing that’s happened is that I’ve been forced to do my own agonizing reappraisal of my own feelings towards depression and suicide. I mean, it’s no secret that I’ve been depressed, off and on, for years. Stressors at work and at home due to my transition have pushed me closer to the brink than ever before. Add in some hormonal mood swings and a couple of crushes and you’re dealing with a potentially lethal cocktail. When you sit in the car with the gun in your lap and just stare at it for 15 minutes and then put it away and go to work, things are not going as well as one might hope.

There’s always something that pulls me back from the edge. Usually my kids. I really can’t fathom intentionally leaving them behind. They’ve already lost their father, they shouldn’t have to lose a parent as well.  Also, who would clear my browser history and dispose of my sex toys? (Just kidding, I have a friend who agreed to take care of that for me. Just like Harvey Keitel’s character in Pulp Fiction.)

nsx
“That’s thirty minutes away. I’ll be there in ten.” (nine minutes, thirty-seven seconds later)

But most of all, what I’ve come up with in the last two days is that I don’t want to put anyone through what I’m feeling right now. I’m hurt, I’m sad, I’m betrayed, I’m just scrambled eggs. I couldn’t bare the thought of my wife finding me, or my children. I wouldn’t want them to have to deal with all the emotions and the heartache. I feel like since starting hormones, I cry so much more than I ever have in my life and the last few days has had the volume turned up past the point of distortion. My eyes are tired and my cheeks are dried out from the tears and the constant wiping.

That’s all I can come up with for now. 🙁