This Sorrowful Life

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything personal–okay, maybe a month, but for me that’s a while.  Or long time.  Or longer than I’m used to, but that’s how things are in my life.  And I should point out that I’m liable to say some things below that may freak others out, so if you are the kind the freaks out easily, depart before you abandon all hope.

If not, let’s roll on in, kiddies . . .

I’m mentioned, off and on over the last few weeks, that I’ve found myself fighting depression.  It’s not a lot of fun, let me tell you, ’cause it wears you out.  I once described depression as treading water in the middle of the ocean:  you’re doing all the work to stay above water while the ocean does nothing–it just sits there and waits for you to tire and go under.  That’s why if you don’t find a way to get out of the water, you’ll drown and die.  And the ocean doesn’t care ’cause it’s a force of nature.  Just like depression:  a force of nature that gives zero shits about you as a person, or for your quality of life.

And November hasn’t helped the situation much.  I’ve got a lot more pressure at work of late, and there’s NaNo, and I’m getting ready to head home at the end of the month for the first time in almost six months . . . it’s a mess.  Really, the last few weeks have started to engulf me . . .

My Resting Bitchy Face from this morning offers proof of this statement.

My Resting Bitchy Face from this morning offers proof of this statement.

Last Friday, right around noon, because I remember it being after I ate lunch at work, I started to find myself getting in a bad way.  I actually cried a little at work, but not enough that it was noticed.  Actually, nothing I do at work is noticed, so it’s not in any way unusual that people would see me sitting in my office starting to lose it.

It wasn’t until I made it home that things came right off the rails.  The moment the door shut behind me I began crying.  I was still crying when the computer came up.  In fact, I cried off and on for the better part of an hour straight, and spent the rest of the night floating in and out of the feeling that there was far too much pain in my life.

Last Saturday was my shot day, and I thought that might help me break out of the funk, but the moment the psychological effects wore off I was right back to being a maudlin little bitch.  Going out and getting makeup didn’t help; being out in the sun did nothing.  I felt as if nothing I did was helping break the feeling that, no, things weren’t going to get better.

By about three PM I’d already made up my mind:  there wasn’t any point in going on, so I might as well shuck this moral coil as fast as I can.

I started preparing for my death.

It’s not easy for me to say that last line, because that’s a hard point in your life when you hit the tipping point and realized you’ve gone from “if” to “when”.  I didn’t care, however:  once you reach that point you just wanna kept going.  It didn’t matter if I was finding the energy to love myself, because I wasn’t feeling any love coming back, and that’s something that’s so difficult to put aside an ignore.

So I started getting ready.  I knew I was going to record some videos and post them for people to view.  I rehearsed what I was going to say, and when I was going to post them.  I knew the manner in which I wanted to check out, and weighed the pros and cons of survivability.  I was all ready to go–

Save for three things.

One, that day was the last episode of Doctor Who‘s most current season.  Okay, so I sound like a geek here, but I had to see how the season ended.  Two, I was into Act Three of my huge, Infinity Jest-like novel, and that meant I was not only getting towards the end, but I was also coming up on a good part that I’ve been sitting on for over a year.  I’d made promises to people that I’d finish this damn thing, and I knew I couldn’t leave people hanging about what happens–and if that doesn’t sound like a writer’s ego hard at work, nothing does.

And finally, there are two people on my “If you die you’ll hurt them” list, and if I died now, I’d be in violation of Jacqualyn’s Law, which I named for a friend.  It’s a variation of Wheaton’s Law, though this one is geared more for women.  It says, “Don’t be a twat,” and I’d have been a massive twat if I did what I was thinking of doing.

So I settled back to watch Doctor Who, and when that was over I headed into writing.  I still hurt, I still found it difficult to get through Sunday–which I helped smooth out by doing more writing–and I made it into Monday, then Tuesday, then . . .

Here.  Today.

Last night I felt the depression coming on again, and I was really not looking forward to dealing with this crap.  Then I noticed someone I’d just reconnected with on Facebook was trying to get my attention.  She’s a transwoman from Canada who transitioned decades ago, and we’ve shared some information over the months.

We started talking, and we talked, and we discussed why I was depressed, and why I felt suicidal, and were there things that I wanted to do that may have made me feel this way.  And there were answers to those questions, and a lot more–

And by the time we were finished, we’d chatted for about three hours, and I felt a whole lot better than I had when the evening had started.

As you can see, I'm actually smiling a little.

As you can see, I’m actually smiling a little.

Things aren’t “over”, but they’re better.  Much better.  I had some plans I want to discuss with my therapist when I see her the Monday before Thanksgiving, and I hope she agrees that it’s time I actually move on these things.  I’m not feeling the trepidation about going home that I have had for a while–it’s going to be the first time I’m going to be Cassie with them full-time since I’ve started transitioning, and while I’m certain my daughter will be cool with it–after all, we went out shopping together as daughter and, um, other mother–I can’t say the other person in the house is gonna dig things.  Maybe I’ll have to cook a couple of good dinners to break the ice . . .  And I’m going to start taking the first steps towards getting my name changed.

But mostly I’ve chilled on the death stuff.  I’m still in the ocean, but I feel like I’m closer to shore, and if you keep moving towards shore, eventually you get up onto dry land and you don’t have to wear yourself out treading water.  And if I can’t get onto dry land, maybe I can get somewhere shallow enough that I can rest once in a while.

This Sorrowful Life.  Sometimes you find yourself surround by bad people and zombies, and you have the choice of either giving in and joining one of the two hordes, or you fight back against the hell that waits outside your walls.  Neither is an easy choice, but you have to make one, because doing nothing is not an option.  You must make a choice.

I mentioned in one of my last videos that you have a choice with transition:  become who you are, or die.  I said I’m trying to get off the death track and be who I am, and last night I finally felt as if I was bucking that first track and leaving it behind.  I hope to make it so.

I really do.

Return of the Last Week

Does that seem cryptic?  Like, oh, god, what sort of “Last Week” are you describing?  Hummm, maybe a little cryptic, but that because I come from a different time and place, not unlike a certain traveler who was on over the weekend.

A week from today is Labor Day, or as some people think of it, the traditional marking of the end of summer.  After that day women aren’t supposed to wear white shoes, men are suppose to stop wearing shorts, and everyone’s suppose to adapt to the idea that fall is here and winter’s around the corner.  It was also, in some places the start of the school year, and depending on the calendar, school either started today, or it started next Tuesday.

That simply isn’t the case any longer.  Today we start school like the first week of August, people don’t much give a damn about what they wear well into fall (something I’ve noticed as I’ve adapted my change in clothing and watched how other women to the same), and winter is now a meme to tell people to brace themselves for some life-changing shit.

And my head was chopped off a few years or over a decade ago, so totally not a spoiler.

And his head was chopped off a few years or over a decade ago, depending on the medium of your choice, so totally not a spoiler.

So we are in the last week of summer.  It’s here, and soon it’ll be Friday, and summer is going . . . well, it’s not going anywhere.  Fall doesn’t officially come for almost another month, and looking ahead for the weeks to come, I doubt that we’re going to see fall-like weather soon.  Which is good, because I don’t have all my winter clothes together yet.  I can get through fall okay, but winter–it’s gonna be a tough one in The Burg.

The only true season I ever used to pay attention to was summer, and that was because I grew up in a house with no air conditioning until about 1970, and so summer was as time of dread.  It was hot and sweaty and miserable, and I couldn’t wait for cooler weather so I could sleep and enjoy going outside without enduring the sensation that I was melting.

The summer’s been mild this year, and where it was super sweltering I’ve manage to stay out of the direct rays and stay comfortable.  Winter is suppose to be a total pain in the ass this year, and that only bothers me in the sense that it’s necessary to go out and share the road with hundreds of drivers who lose their minds whenever there’s the smallest amount of snow on the ground.

However, it’s not the weather going away that I’ll think about this year.  The summer was one of dramatic change for me, and in this last week I meet with my therapist and talk about all the stuff that’s happened in the month since I last saw her.  I’m sure they’ll be a lot of discussion about what’s going to happen at work this winter, and not a few mentions of my emotional state over the month of August.

And then we can talk about what’s coming in the fall.

All-in-all, it’s not been a bad summer,

Maybe I need to get out and enjoy what their is of my new life in the fall.

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Changing seasons, changing gender appearance–pretty much the same, don’t you think?  It can still make for a good hike on a nice day.

 

The Long Adventure

This thing I said I was going to–you know, finish up these rewrites on Chapter One?  Yeah, I finished those.  No, they are in the can for real.  I’m just as surprised as you.

I worked over the last part of the scene in some good detail.  It was a lot of Kerry wondering why Annie liked to stand close to him, or sit even closer, or, when they were taking a picture here and there, she’d slip her hand into his.  The kid’s only a few months past eleven and not the sharpest spear in the social activities group.  So, yeah:  he’s a bit confused.

Actually, he’s a lot confused.  Because . . .

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

There was another thing as well . . .

While walking through St. James Park, as Annie was telling him about Buckingham Palace, there were a few moments when Annie tentatively reached over and—well, first she touched his arm, then after a minute or so she sort of leaned on him for a few seconds, and then, maybe a couple of minutes after that, while she was pointing out something, she took his left hand, gave it a small squeeze, then walked with his towards the palace. It took him nearly a minute, but he finally found the nerve to wrap his fingers around her hand and continued walking like nothing important was happening.

But he wasn’t like that on the inside. He was worried he was going to get too excited and crush Annie’s hand, because Kerry had felt his heart race and sweat break out on his forehead, and there were a few moments when it imagined he might lose it all, snatch his hand away, and run off. But he maintained his cool—all through the park, and later when she did the same thing on the Tower Bridge, and then again while walking through Queen Mary’s Park after they returned to the Baker Street Station.

Annie did that, but I have no idea why. He shifted his gaze away from his hands; as he didn’t want to look at Annie just yet, he looked down the aisle towards Ms. Rutherford. Maybe it was her first time being out with a boy, and she—I don’t know—she wanted to feel like she was out on a date and she didn’t think I’d mind . . .

Ms. Rutherford turned and gave Kerry a little smile before going back to whatever it was she was reading. He stared at the back of her head for a few seconds before flashing back on last night—

Kerry took his seat and watched, out of the corner of his eye, as Annie sat to his left, just as she always seemed to do. Collin was to his right, and Alica and Ms. Rutherford were almost directly across from him at the circular table.

Ms. Rutherford first spoke to Alica and Collin, who both grumbled about having nothing to do. She then looked at Kerry, gave him a cheerful smile, saying he certainly looked happy, then turned to Annie before addressing them both. “So, you two: how was your date?”

Annie gave Kerry a quick side glance before answering. “Oh, it was incredible, Ms. Rutherford.” Then she turned to Kerry, her eyes bright and her face aglow. “Wasn’t it perfect, Kerry?”

Just like that moment in the restaurant, Annie filled Kerry’s vision, and just like last night her hazel eyes were bright and locked upon him—

Ms. Rutherford asked about our date.

He shook from side to side. “Oh, oh.”

“Oh what, Welsh boy?” Alica chuckled again. “You know, you’re cute when you’re actin’ simple.”

 

I love torturing my kids.  Who needs whips when you have Annie?

Later today I’m going to compile off the parts I’ve rewritten and mail them off to someone and see if they’ll look them over, then I’ll start rewriting a few other scenes that require an intervention.  Not a lot, but they are there–including one that demands a full rebuild.

But I’ve finally struggled through Chapter One.  Onward, right?

See?  Second passes all around!  It must be true.

See? Second passes all around! It must be true.

Now that the writing stuff is updated, it’s time for a little personal interjection.  What?  You thought I only spoke about writing?  Foolish people!

A couple of weeks back Aussa Lorens, who is found over at the blog Hacker. Ninja. Hooker. Spy., wrote about her birthday, and mentioned that her birthdays were often filled with adventure.  Some people are lucky that way:  their birthdays are moments to remember, exciting days that stay with them for most of their lives.

And then there’s me.

I commented that I’d never had an adventure on my birthday, that most of them were pretty much, “Eh, it’s Friday” sort of deals.  This didn’t sit well with Aussa, and she tasked me with going on an adventure for my birthday.

So the mental clockwork that is my brain went to work, trying to find an adventure that would put Flynn and Jake to shame.  And . . . I got a whole lotta nuttin’.  I mean, I write for something that I hope will one day be a living, and coming up with interesting things for my characters to do is the order of the day.  Unfortunately, I think my chances are pretty slim to none that I’m going to save an entire civilization, or save a friend from a Lovecraftian horror, or communicate with a ghost that it looking for justice.  Nah, that isn’t happening.

What does that leave?  I could head back up to Centralia and dance naked on the abandoned portion of PA Route 61 until I come down with a touch of carbon monoxide poisoning like I did during my first trip there.  Or I could head back out to The Abandoned Turnpike and walk the entire length, going through both tunnels, maybe scaring the hell out of myself as I spend more than a mile in the complete darkness of Sideling Tunnel . . . nope, I’ll do that some time later in the summer.  There’s still the trip I want to take out to where the Hindenburg crashed and burned, but I have scheduled a visit.

No, we’re talking an adventure.  Something that I’m going to remember.

Then it hit me:  I knew what I’d do.

Thursday I spoke with my therapist–yes, I have one of those, and she did ask if I’d speak with her more than a couple of times a year.  A certain subject came up, and her comment was, “Cassie, you’ve been ready for a year.”  Which is true:  were it not for having to change jobs a couple of times since the end of 2012, the thing we were discussion probably would have happened last year.  I agreed with her, and then did my little thinking thing–

The conclusion I reached was, yeah, bitch, it’s time to pull the trigger and start moving forward.  In the story I’m writing there is a thing that Kerry Malibey does:  when faced with a bit of a challenge, he’ll look straight ahead, sigh, and say, “Okay, let’s do this.”  That was pretty much me Thursday night:  this needs to be done, so you best get to work.

Yesterday afternoon, after returning from work and enjoying my dinner, I filled out and submitted a patient intake form, making an official request to begin my hormone replacement therapy.  And that’s it:  the trigger’s pulled, the gears are grinding, everything is being put into motion.  This is the point in the program where, if you’re transgender like me, you’re saying, “It’s time to rid myself of all those nasty hormones that have been driving me crazy for decades, and get on the hormones that are going to change me physically, mentally, and emotionally.”  It means you’re starting off on a path that you’re probably never going to turn away from, because in a few months you’re going to develop breasts, you’re going to see fat moving to your hips and butt, you’re going to start having emotional swings that are going to having you laughing and enjoying the light of day one minute, and leave you crying in the darkness damning your existence the next.

This all culminates with going out all the time as the person you have always wanted to be.  Not just out for breakfast and shopping like I do now, but everywhere–even at work.  Yes, I have my plan laid out for that, and it’s a scary thing, because if everything goes as plans, I’ll come out to them about the time 2015 is rolling into town, and they’ll start seeing a new me walking around the office.  I’ll change my name legally, I’ll have new identification, just about everything that was the old me will exist in a few photos and little else.

That’s the thing of this:  I’m finally saying goodbye to one person while saying hello to another.  I’ve been out since 2012, but it’s only in the last few months that I’ve started presenting in public.  I am, just like my current story, a work in progress, and things will continue to change–particularly once I start hormone therapy and begin going through puberty again.  Yes, ladies:  what you did as late tweeners and early teeners, I get to do now.

This has even more importance now, because yesterday was the last day of me me being fifty-six years old, and today is, as they say over at The Oatmeal, “Pop Out of a Vagina Day,” aka I turn fifty-seven.  And not comes the scary part–

I’m gonna post a picture.  Hang on, ’cause this is gonna be right up there with Cthulhu waking up.

Okay . . .

.

.

.

Here I am:

"Konichiwa!"

“Konichiwa!”

And this is the last birthday I’ll have as that person in that picture, because a year from now who I am at this moment will really, truly, be a memory, and there will be a completely different person in that picture next birthday.  My face will change some, I’ll have new glasses, I’ll finally get my brows worked on–in short, I’ll be a completely different person.

A lot of people set off on adventures that change their lives:  in my case, I’m changing my life completely, and if that isn’t an adventure–

Then I guess I gotta throw myself in a volcano.  That’s exciting for a bit, but it’s a bit difficult to write about later . . .

Pen Monkey on the Back

Just so you know, it’s cold in Chicago.  We’re having something today that we haven’t seen in seven hundred and ten days, and that thing is what we used to call winter.  There was a time when the temps would always get down below zero and the Hawk would roar out of the north, and we’d bundle up and deal.  Yesterday it was like this, and people were losing their shit faster than Alex Jones on a good day.  But fear not!  It’ll be back in the twenties tomorrow, and before you know it it’ll be sixty in February, and people will start bitching about how there was no spring.

I was on the Skype with my therapist last night.  It was the first time since October that we’d met, and we had a lot of catching up.  But the one thing she wanted to talk about, the one thing she wanted to know—“How’s your writing going?”

If there’s one thing I’ve loved about my therapist, it’s that she’s always shown an interest in my writing.  She started laughing when I told her I’d written another novel over NaNoWriMo 2012, and told me she was hoping the two novels I have out trying to get published got picked up.  I told her of my plan to get four things published this year, either via the traditional route, or doing the self-publishing thing, where I put my work up against Japan: Exotic Erotica and Big Daddy’s Present, the last of which has nothing to do with Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

One of the things she asked was, “Do you feel guilty if you aren’t writing?”  This is the first time anyone’s ever asked me that question, but it’s one that I know exists.  I’ve seen memes before where one of the signs that you’re an artist is that you feel guilty if you aren’t doing something creative.  I’ve read interviews where writers have said if they don’t get a few hundred words in every day, they feel as if they’re doing something wrong.

In the last few weeks I’ve begun to feel a bit guilty if I don’t some writing.  I’m not talking about blogging, either:  my blogs are my thoughts, my musings, so to speak, from day to day.  It also help me to continue developing my skills, to build upon what is there, and make it better.

But I also know the stories of writers who say, “If you have nothing coming to you, don’t force it.  Find something else to do.”  Read, draw, play with software, surf the net for porn.  Find something to do that keeps you in the groove, and let the writing come on its own.

I tried to keep from beating myself up these days.  There was a time when I felt as if I had to drag myself before the computer and slap those words into the system.  I still feel as if I have to do that, but I do it knowing it’s what I want to do, that I want to tell a story, and tell it the right way.  I’m not giving up these days, not like I used to.

Beside, I think I have fans.

And I don’t want to disappoint them.