Tuesday, February 9, 2016

   This post was originally a Facebook post, from Super Bowl Sunday, February 7, 2016... I put it here cos I felt it was important, and also because some people just "don't like Facebook" ("...boom...") Anyway, here's an epiphany I had:

I had an epiphany earlier. Let me explain:
My late father & I bonded over NFL football when I could still count my age on one hand. I've always had an athletic mindset. I subscribed to Sports Illustrated off & on from 1977 to 2007. I played 4 years of football in high school, where I rode the bench. I know plenty of insignificant football trivia. I am a diehard New England Patriots fan, & I'll probably ALWAYS love the game. Football has been, and probably always WILL be a source of joy & happiness to me.
That said, I watched only the first five minutes of Super Bowl 50. The rest of the night, I was @ two 12-step group meetings. One was at my sponsor's house, the other was a few miles away. My epiphany was,  that my recovery has GOT to be the MOST important thing in my life, or else it won't work. I've GOT to put it before EVERYTHING else... my relationships, my family, my transition, my friends... even my beloved NFL football. If I don't make it THE MOST important thing in my life, I could find myself back out there using again. I don't want that to happen.
In football, if Ur team doesn't make it to the playoffs, or to the Super Bowl; there's always next year. There's always another chance for Ur heroes to give it all they have... to prove that they're the best.
But recovery is different. I have this one chance to give my recovery... my LIFE... EVERYTHING I have. I have to do the right things, surround myself with the right people, & make the right choices to give myself the best shot @ a better life. One of the choices I made tonight was to put my recovery before football. I feel I chose correctly.
Today, I didn't drink or use drugs. I'm VERY happy about that!!! But I didn't do it alone... I had the help of my sponsor & a few very good friends, who helped keep my head in the (recovery) game. I'm grateful to all of them for helping to teach me the true value of both my recovery, & indeed; my LIFE.
When I played football in high school, I wanted to quit. My dad pleaded with the coach (who was my cousin) not to let me quit. My dad was probably the best friend I'll ever have. I love him dearly & miss him terribly. I'm taking his first name (Matteo) as my last, to honor him; when I legally change my name. (the hearing is Friday, March 4th @ 1:30 pm) He never let me give up on myself, & I believe he would support me & my transition. He would urge me to keep fighting... to give 110% effort, in my life, my transition, & my recovery. He told me that if a person did something before me, that I should be able to learn to do it at least as well, if not better... & all I had to do was try.
I'm not going to give up on myself.
I see people with lots of clean time, who have found a new & better way to live... CLEAN. I want that, & I'll GET it !!! It'll take a LOT of work,  & a LOT of meetings... but One Day At A Time, I WILL GET to where (& WHO) I wanna be.
I'm WORTH the years of effort it's going to take to get there! (Just that thought might be the biggest epiphany of all; what with the huge self esteem issues I've battled all my life...)
It's late in the game of my life, & I've made a few bonehead plays that cost me a few points. I'm down, but I'm not out. I just hafta get my head in the game, give it 110% effort, and play to win the game. The comeback starts NOW.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Updateasaurus Wrecks

   Wow, I haven't updated this thing since July?!? Well, let's see... I graduated from Effective Living Center in September, which was a requirement for me to get off probation. They have everything they need, so now I'm just waiting for the letter that tells me I'm done with probation... & when I'm done with probation, I can legally change my name, & I can finally get the hell outta Minnesota... as soon as I can afford to.
   I moved in late July, just a few days before my last update. I moved in with a couple friends of mine across town. They're wonderful people, & I'm very grateful that they're letting me live in their basement. Since they drive a truck 5 days/week, I'm alone quite a bit. There's a huge difference between loneliness & solitude...
    I know that I'm right where I'm supposed to be... Wanna know how I know? Ok, I'll tell you...   The day after I moved, I was in a trans chatroom I frequent on Facebook. I was sitting out on the porch, & had just typed in the chat, "Today is the first day of the rest of my life." Not 45 seconds later, one of my new roommates comes out to the porch; we begin talking, & they say, "This is the first day of the rest of your life". I was gobsmacked!!! Speechless, I pulled up the chat & pointed, as if to say, "I JUST typed that!!!" Lol Crazy coincidences like that happen quite a bit...
    Guess what? Today, November 2nd, marks 9 months clean and sober for me!!! <curtsies> Thank you... Thank you... Lol
   As proud as I am of the 9 months, I'm prouder still to be clean TODAY. I'm doing it one day at a time, & I'm NOT doing it alone... I go to 3 or 4 12-step group meetings a week, & I think they really help me learn what I need to learn to stay clean that day, and maybe another day as well... I feel that being clean as I am is a blessing, & many blessings have come my way since I gave up drugs. I have good friends now, who I can talk to, & learn from. I have the knowledge now that I can pass ANY drug test with flying colors... & I have a little bit more self-respect, & self-esteem as well.
   I still don't have estrogen 61st, but I'm working on it... That's a subject for a whole 'nother blog. Until next time, this is Olivia; wishing U happiness, health, & success... ALWAYS!!!!

Monday, July 27, 2015

     "But before you come to any conclusions
Try walking in my shoes     Try walking in my shoes"
-"Walking In My Shoes", Depeche Mode

     Hi there, everyone... Olivia here, and I'm sick of hearing people dump all over Caitlyn Jenner!!! And sadly, among the large number of her detractors are some of the transgender community... I wonder why a community that pleads for recognition and acceptance would turn against one of their own. I wonder why some of the people going through the distress we all endure would discount someone else's struggle. I wonder where the empathy went.

     When I was in gender therapy very, VERY early in my transition (just last year, but it seems like a lifetime ago), I learned that everyone transitions differently, & that everyone's transition is different. Sure, Caitlyn Jenner's transition isn't "typical", but who among us can claim one that is?!? Every single person on the planet is different, whether they're transitioning or not. We all celebrate different successes; we all fight through different hardships. I've seen it posted on Facebook many times... "Everyone you meet could be fighting a battle that you know nothing about... Be kind." That also applies to Caitlyn Jenner as well. I'd be willing to bet that there were, and still are; troubles that she's been through that either were not filmed or ended up on the cutting room floor. We ALL have pain and suffering in our lives... How we respond to it is the difference...

     Did YOU  have to transition under the gaze of a community who was sharply, & perhaps overly critical of most every move you made or didn't make?!?
     Did YOU have to transition where EVERYONE knew you beforehand, & had an opinion about your transition, whether you wanted them to or not?!?
     Did YOU know everything about everything early in your transition?!? (I KNOW I didn't; and STILL don't... I'm learning new things every single day; and I know that I still have enormous, gigantic MOUNTAINS of stuff to learn...)
     Did anyone feel that YOU were transitioning simply to get publicity?!?
     Did anyone suggest that YOU had to help out those trans people who were way worse off than you, forgetting that you're also transitioning as well?!? If Caitlyn Jenner has to help trans people just because she's rich and they're not; then why hasn't someone like, say, Donald Trump, helped out more people? Built homeless shelters instead of casinos, perhaps? He's rich, and they're not... Yet no one is blasting Trump because he didn't do any of that...

I had said in an earlier blog that "Everyone transitions in their own time, even heroes." Well, I'd like to reiterate the simple fact that we're ALL different. We ALL have our crosses to bear... There are those who simply can't bear that pain. 41% of all trans people have attempted suicide (including myself) Trans people are being murdered worldwide; the death toll continues to climb... There were three trans women murdered in three days just last week.

Have YOU  had to go through ANY of  the things I mentioned earlier? My guess is that you haven't.
If not, then how can you judge Caitlyn Jenner?!? She's doing her best, folks; as are we all. Give her a chance to shine... She's only been out a couple months, and trans awareness has already risen sharply. Given time, who KNOWS what she; or any of us, for that matter, can achieve?!? 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

      "...Oh, I didn't realize... That you wrote poetry... I didn't realize you wrote such bloody awful poetry, Mr. Shankly..."- The Smiths, "Frankly, Mr. Shankly"

     Once upon a time, there was a girl... although she didn't know it until relatively late in her life. Her name was Olivia... or that was he name she chose for herself when she realized that she was a girl. Before she'd understood that she was indeed a girl, Olivia wrote poetry occasionally; and every once in a great while, she had tried to write what she envisioned as short stories. She'd invariably gotten stuck at some point on each and every one of them. She kept pushing her feelings away, most often using copious amounts of drugs to accomplish the heinous task.

     Among the myriad of reasons that Olivia found herself feeling guilty was because she wasn't writing, something she figured out that she had a talent for. She felt shame as well, and among the reasons for this was that she was hungry for acceptance and love; two things that she could never seem to give herself, despite the yearning she had for both. Olivia was also very afraid at times... She'd be so concerned about what other people thought about her (and to a lesser extent, her written output, or lack thereof; virtually nonexistent at some very low and nearly stagnant points in her life), that she didn't get that it didn't really matter how others viewed her... What really mattered, Olivia later found out; was how she thought and felt about herself.

     Liv (one of Olivia's nicknames, which she liked because it sounded like the word "live"; which was all she really wanted to do once she dug that she was a girl) had made a bunch of changes in her life, one of which was to resume writing. This helped her get in touch with the feelings she'd pushed away for decades, helping her to grow as both a person and a writer. She wrote more poetry, and some of it has been included here so that you lucky people could read it...

        Livy here... I wrote this April 27th... It's what I would say to "the boy" if I actually ever had the chance... It doesn't rhyme, but whatever...
Woman In Progress
U know me... U've always known me
U spent over three decades pushing me away
Pushing me into a corner, the same corner U've finally painted Urself into
Well, guess who's ready to pounce... That's right, it's Ur girl
All that time, all that money, all the life you wasted
Trying to shove me down into a mental oubliette
Well, it didn't work, did it? U tried to drink me away... I survived
U tried to smoke me away with drugs of all kinds
I roared back with a vengeance... I wouldn't be denied
U kept trying, again and again, to silence my voice
Even when I was on Ur side, still U tried to muffle me
Even when I was the only person who gave U a chance
U dismissed me as just figment of Ur drug-addled imagination
A "What If?" straight out of the saddest comic book ever
U left everything U'd ever known behind in a frantic search
For the love U desperately needed in Ur life
But could never ever give Urself, even if U had tried to
And I was always there, just out of earshot
On the edge of Ur field of vision... There I was...
Watching... Waiting... Fighting every effort U made to silence me
Well now, U finally see me as I am... as I've always been
I am a little worse for wear, though... U put up a good fight
But now U're slowly realizing that I was right all along
U made a complete mess of Ur life... Ur sad, wasted life
U had such potential... But U chose to stop after the first 3 letters
All that all that weed did was slow me down
It made U take such a very, very long time to acknowledge me
I've always been here, and I always will be
I'm a part of U, whether U like it or not
And whether I like it or not, U're a part of me, too
I'm taking the few good parts of U and making them my own
And don't even think that the fight is over
Even though I now have the upper hand, I haven't won yet
Though as long as I have breath, I'll continue to fight U
U're finally down, but U're not out... Yet
But U're tired.. I can see it in the lines on your face
And I'm gaining strength... U can see it in my confident smile
I WILL beat U... I WILL take what's mine!!!
And I won't stop until U're just someone from my distant past
Someone who used to call this battered body home
Someone who tried, tried, and tried; again and again and again
To get rid of me... To squash me... To ace me...
Well, now guess who's holding all the aces? That's right, me
I'm in charge now... and succeeding at things U only dreamed of
And I'll keep succeeding, because I have more drive that U
I've fought for my life for decades... Do U think I'll quit now?
Do U think I'll let up just because I'm winning?
Guess again... This is MY time to shine, bright eyes
U are through holding my body hostage... It's my turn
So prepare to be locked away, as U tried to do to me
Where U failed, I WILL succeed!!! Because I have no choice
This is MY life now... It's not Urs anymore
U have no claim to it any longer... It's mine
And every single day that passes just makes me stronger
I'm a woman in progress... & I'm better than U ever could be
Maybe THAT'S why U tried to push me away all those years
Maybe it was out of fear... The abject fear I see in Ur eyes even now
Look into my eyes. Go ahead... What do U see?
I'll tell U... A woman who's had all she can take of U
I'm pushing harder than ever, to rid U from this body
U'll be relegated to memories... Sad little thoughts of the past
Buckle up... The future might be bumpy, but it'll be great
MY future...My life...And silencing U, will be MY victory
It's all over but the crying... U've lost
I am ascendant... And I WILL prevail!!

I wrote this one on May 20th... It's about the never-ending journey I'm on...
The road has just begun
It's the toughest road I've ever been on
There's no bike, no car, no bus
Just my tired, numb feet, plodding along
Don't think I don't hear the naysayers
I hear their snickers, their scorn
I hear their hateful laughter
As they disdain my journey
My purpose, my raison d'etre
I keep moving forward, ever onward
I look for signposts in the distance
I know that others have travelled this road
And ventured down the path I tread
I see mementoes, memorials to the fallen
The ones overwhelmed by the journey
I pause for a brief moment to honor them
Their struggle fuels my resolve
Spurring me to continue on
I'm here because I must be
Because I know that this road
Will get me to where I need to be
There are many pitfalls on this path
I learn to sidestep them
I trudge on, with raw hamburger feet
Bloodied by the hard road I walk
This is the way... It's gotta be
Through hardships and trials
I slowly slough towards happiness
I grin wryly at the gathering clouds
As the inexorable road stretches to the horizon

May 31st brought this small, yet powerful verse:
Balls?!? No...
It doesn't take balls to be a trans* woman...
It DOES take: audacity, grit, moxie, spunk, willpower, guts, backbone, courage, fortitude, heart, hardihood, mettle, pluck, spine, resolution, spirit, bravery, intrepidity, valor, boldness, brass, cheek, chutzpah, resolve, toughness, temerity, & tenacity
...but it does NOT take balls.
Those you can take from me.

 And on June 6th, this rumination on love...
Perhaps Better Left Unsaid
"take care, my friend"
she but skims the surface, a water-walker of words
when her actual feelings are deeper than the Marianas Trench; and are so hot to the touch, as would burn up the things she values the most
so she soft-pedals... understates... touches lightly upon those sensitive subjects
a bit of dandelion fluff, settling gently upon a blade of grass; instead of a meteor which would quake the ground as it pounded the earth, leaving a gaping, enormous crater in its thunderous wake
how & where to express the outsize feelings; bold, brassy, bouncy brain bits, harnessed to her pounding heart with hoops of steel
not a concern for some... & she'll keep it as such... to protect the things she loves perhaps too much
perhaps if one truly expresses oneself with fervor and fire at all times, the impact is lessened; the proverbial "thousand suns" one's love is brighter than, dim with near-constant exposure to them
so, though it guts her inside, and makes her feel as if a gag has been tightened around her heart... she stems the tide of words she desperately wishes to express her undying love... and says simply,
"take care, my friend"
TAKE all you want from me, every scrap of my being is yours for the asking
i CARE about you more than I care about myself
MY happiness increases tenfold when I see your bright smile
you're my best FRIEND
"take care, my friend"

     Olivia has deduced that writing is: something which she enjoys doing, something that helps her become both a better person and a better writer, and something that she seems to have an aptitude for.
She hopes that you've enjoyed her humble poetry. She's promised to write more in the future... and she promises she'll try not to refer to herself in the third person ever again. Until our dear friend Olivia makes a reappearance (which she promises will be sooner than later), we bid her a fond adieu.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

   Former Cream bass player Jack Bruce?  Nope...
   Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jay Bruce ("The Beaumont Bomber")?  Nuh uh...
   Former TV & screenwriter Bruce Vilanch? Uh, no...
   The shark from "Finding Nemo"?!?  The shark from "Jaws"?!? No way...
   Former Buffalo Bills defensive end Bruce Smith?  Er, nope...
   Former oldies DJ "Bruce "Cousin Brucie" Morrow?   OK, now you're being silly...
   Well, then who could the above capitalized, bolded, italicized, and underlined title possibly represent, Olivia?!?!?

    I am talking, of course, about the person whose name has been on more lips lately than Chapstick, none other than the winner of the 1976 Olympic gold medal in the decathlon, Bruce Jenner. I've not been actually asked for my opinion on the whole media circus this story has become; but, damn the torpedoes, you're gonna get it anyway!!! It's MY blog, and that's what this edition of it will talk about!!!

    I first remember cheering Bruce Jenner on in his aforementioned decathlon victory. I was ten years old. I was one of many millions of Americans who rooted for Bruce Jenner in that bicentennial year. Time passed, and I grew older and so did Bruce. And I had no way of knowing that he and I were going through the exact same thing... gender dysphoria. We both maintained that "macho" facade (he was better at that; and indeed, most things, than I was...), but the underlying problem remained for both of us. In the late 80's, he had begun to receive treatment for his persistent gender dysphoria, where I had not even begun to understand mine. (Everyone transitions in their own time... even heroes.) He ceased receiving hormones during that time though, for fear of hurting his family.

    More recently, I'd known that Bruce Jenner was on a popular reality TV show (not having ever watched the show I've alluded to, I hadn't known he'd separated from Kris until about a week ago)...
Due to the pervasive tabloid news coverage surrounding him, I and many others had begun to wonder and speculate about him. Last year, I finally began to understand that I was transgender. Some of the rumors floating around about Bruce Jenner had suggested that he might be as well.

     Finally, the long-awaited day of the big interview came and went. I think it answered some questions, but it also raised a few... Was Bruce an idiot? Was he immoral? Was he faking being transgender just to get attention? Would he ever be considered a "real woman" without vaginoplasty? Would this interview set the trans movement back an entire generation?!?

    Initially, I had been worried that a badly handled interview would, indeed set the trans movement back 20 years; but from what I've seen, (links to interview posted on my Facebook profile) it was handled with a quiet dignity, and was not sensationalized in the least. 
Bruce is definitely not an idiot, nor is he (using his requested name & pronouns until he tells us different) immoral from what I've seen... The concept of this whole thing being used as a promotional gimmick was raised in the interview itself, & Bruce laughed it off. I don't think Bruce needs any more attention... He was on a top-rated reality show, and is still an American Olympic legend, so pretty much EVERYONE already knows who he is... As far as "never being a 'real woman'  without vaginoplasty", who's to say that that's not exactly what he's looking to do? (& isn't it considered invasive for anyone, even other trans people, to ask questions or make assumptions about a person's genitals, anyway?!?)

 I'll sum up thusly: I saw the interview; & to me, Bruce appeared to be genuine. (as far as the tears and the like; as anyone who's watched the final season of "CHiPs" can attest, he's not that good an actor...) It is that perception of this whole affair that leads me to throw my support firmly behind Bruce Jenner. (for what little my, or anyone else's moral support is actually worth) He said he wants to do some good & change the world... I support him in this aspect as well. As to what will happen in the future, that's anyone's guess...I eagerly await the next occurence in the saga this has become; and dearly hope that trans people of color; and who are other otherwise unfairly discriminated against are helped by not only the exposure, but the education it may provide.

    #teamjenner    Go, Bruce!!! Let's do some good!!!

    How about that, kids?!? I unknowingly had something in common with the athlete I'd rooted for long ago...  Bruce Jenner's story, his vulnerability, and his honesty has already done quite a lot to raise dialogue and recognition of transgender people worldwide... and others who might not have been Olympic medalists are coming forth to tell their stories as well. This is wonderful, because it could lead to a huge positive difference in the way transgender people are viewed. We're not all perverts... we're not all freaks... we're not all "abominations before the Lord" (as some Bible-thumpers might lead you to believe...) We're all just people; and so is Bruce Jenner. 
He was a hero then, and he's got the opportunity to be a hero now. I'll be cheering for him to be victorious yet again.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

     Update City
  Population: me

    It's April, and the medical stuff is glacially progressing towards Estrogenville!
    I saw a doctor regarding my transition back in December, thinking that I would have to get OFF of the Warfarin (aka Coumadin) that I had been prescribed for blood clots. (I had a couple blood clots in my upper right arm in May 2014... see first blog entry for more info) She referred me to a hematologist. I talked to him, and he said that due to a mutation in my blood that makes me more prone to clotting, that I would most likely be on Warfarin or its like for the rest of my life... HOWEVER, this hematologist saw no reason that I couldn't have the estrogen I've wanted since I realized I was transgender. My heart leapt!!! He said that my taking estrogen would only increase my risk of a blood clot by five to ten percent... I LIKE those odds!!!
    So I spoke to my doctor again, asking when I could FINALLY get the sweet nectar of estrogen... She said that the level of Warfarin in my bloodstream would have to be stable for them to start me on estrogen. However, I was assured that this would be the last hurdle I'd have to surmount to obtain what I've been searching for. (Or if not the absolute last, then damn close...) I've been having my blood tested to check the level of Warfarin in it (they call it an "INR", which I believe stands for "International Normalized Ratio"), and my last INR was exactly where they wanted it!!! I'll get another test (I wish I could study for these things! lol) in a couple weeks, and if all goes well; I think that I may FINALLY reach the city limits of Estrogenville!!! Fingers, toes & eyes crossed...

    Now comes the part where I admit my failings-  I had a job... A good job... But I done screwed myself out of it because I had... more feelings to push away, apparently...  In November, I was ticketed for Use of Intoxicant... I was inhaling computer duster to get high. Irresponsible, I know; but these are the things addicts like myself do (or DID... More about that in a moment...) You'd THINK that this would be a BIG wake-up call... Guess again. I began to steal computer duster from my job, using it to get high with; and they caught me stealing it, and rightfully fired me. ("What a dumbass!" "I know, I know..." "SO irresponsible..." "Right." "And stupid..." "All RIGHT, already!!! I KNOW I fucked up!!! <heavy sigh>" {This was just some of the dialogue I had with myself...} )
     The resulting court appearances, probation, and loss of money were the wake-up call I needed to FINALLY get the help I needed to stop getting intoxicated! As of this writing, I have over 2 months CLEAN AND SOBER!!! I never thought I'd be glad about something like that, but I really am... Plus I have met some good friends who are also in recovery; both through the AA meetings (granted, more of my problems stemmed from chemicals other than alcohol, but the lessons I've been learning are universal) which I attend weekly, and in other places. And just for today, I'm not going to use drugs or drink... Tomorrow's looking good on that score as well... After that? Well, I can't guarantee anything, but the PLAN is to NOT get intoxicated... Ever again...

     Because I got fired, I'm searching for another full-time job. So far, all I've found is temp work, but I'm diligently searching for gainful employment. More on this as it develops!

     And now news from the romantical front... I am engaged!!! Yes, I; Olivia Hope Woodstock (last name soon to change- more on that in a later installment of this blog) am engaged!!! My fiancee's name is Wynter (for now... she's thinking of changing her name, but I'll love her no matter what...), and she is a trans girl just like yours truly. We have been engaged since January... I've not actually physically MET her yet, but I really don't give a rat's ass what she looks like... (I do KNOW what she looks like... We chat every day...) I'll avoid saying too awful much about her here to protect her privacy; but rest assured, we are in LOVE!!! My plan is to leave Minnesota (that sound you just heard was the collective gasp of thousands of incredulous Minnesotans... lol), and to be in her arms by Christmas 2016, or sooner if I'm able!!!

     So: to sum up...
     Livy is thisclose to her blessed estrogen, and a VERY large step in not being "the boy" anymore!!!
     Livy has over 2 months CLEAN AND SOBER, and intends to remain so in perpetuity!!!
     Livy needs a job... and is searching high and low for work...
     Livy is head-over-heels in love with, and engaged to a beautiful trans girl like herself!!!

     There's your update, kids... I'm sorry it took me so long to do this one!!! I really should blog, and write (poetry, fiction, whatever) more often... Apparently, I seem to have some kind of talent for it... [I try not to brag, because I hate people who do... but my therapist posed an interesting question last week... "When does it stop being bragging & become self-confidence?" So, I'll have to admit to myself that I can actually do something (other than breathe, eat, and take up an insane amount of space) reasonably well...] And I do find it kind of enjoyable, so I really will try to do it more often.

     Until next we meet here, on the road to Estrogenville (Population: millions of women), this is your friendly neighborhood Olivia, signing off!!! Peace, Love & Music to all!!! I wish you Happiness, Health, and Success!!!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

    Hi there, everyone... It's Olivia, your crazy friend down the street... lol You know the one... She's a good egg, but just a little cracked... (Hey, the cracks build character!!! lol)

    So earlier today, I learned that one of my high school classmates died yesterday. I can still see her face in my mind... well, more than her face... Let me explain. I remember lusting after this girl for the entire four years of high school. I had thought that she was just the most gorgeous creature I'd ever seen... Petite, flaming red hair, a generous spray of freckles on a pretty face with a cute button nose and full lips that I had dreamed about kissing more times than I can count... I can remember sitting behind her in a few classes we both had... Let's just say that... erm, I quite enjoyed the view from there... She was very attractive.

    So why do I mention my former classmate, other than to establish myself as a completely unrepentant raging horndog?!?  Those of you who've read this blog before have probably already guessed that I'm a horndog by now... lol  No, I mention her because of the manner in which she died; by an overdose of a drug I'm quite thankful to number among the few I haven't tried: heroin. I have quite the laundry list of drugs that I've wasted my time and money on in the past... mostly marijuana, but I've tried cocaine, crack, opium, hashish, acid, alcohol, and various inhalants. I think that I'm finally having a small bit of success in getting off that roller coaster (about 2 months clean and sober!!!) because I am now FINALLY dealing with what I believe is the reason I made all the bad choices I did... I was trying to push away the feelings I'd had of being transgender. I guess that even as a high school student, I was having these feelings; but had no idea what they were, what they meant or why I was having them.

    I can't help but think, "there but for the grace of God go I..." I mean that I could have just as easily chosen to add heroin to the multifarious list of mood-altering substances I've ingested over the years... I'd certainly demonstrated a desire to "escape" the feelings I had, whether those feelings were self-pity, loneliness, self-hatred, or just feeling generally inadequate compared to my peers... I could have followed that same route, and ended up in the same place. "That could've been me..."

    I'm left now to wonder just what she had been going through (we didn't really know each other well at all) that made her believe that heroin was a viable alternative. I'm not naive enough to think that I could have rescued her from whatever demons might have been lurking in her life, for whatever reasons I may have wanted to try to do so. It really makes me curious as to what kind of problems a beautiful lady like that would have, that would make her choose not only drugs; but a drug that has killed SO many people indiscriminately. Why would someone who had all that beauty and promise make that choice?

    And all this time, I had thought that she and I were completely different people... Maybe that's one of the reasons I was attracted to her... ("Opposites attract" is the old saw...) But the more I think about it... and what little I knew of her... I see how similar we actually were. We were both searching for happiness and acceptance, we both seemed to think we'd receive it from other people instead of finding it within ourselves, and we both turned to drugs as a means of trying to cope with reality... And little did I know it at the time, but we were both women... although, I have the horrendous problem of being cursed with an entirely male-looking body- but I'm working on changing that!!!

    I guess that certain things affect different people in different ways... I will mourn my former classmate's loss for sure, as I did with another former classmate who died of leukemia. But I think I'll really take away something very different from this... No matter HOW much someone seems to have things all together on the outside; inside, they could be fighting a battle that you can't even begin to understand. (And you would think that I would have known that already... Not so, amigo... Not so.)

     Rest in peace, my friend. Rest in peace. And thank you for the time we had together; and for what you taught me, both in the past and today. Thank you.