It’s been a hard couple of months, I won’t bullshit you. I’m starting to think that my blog is nothing more than documenting my mental, physical, and spiritual decline.
As I wrote a few blogs back, two days before my 52’nd birthday, my niece died. No warning, no serious illness that we were aware of, no nothing. A young woman in her mid-thirties, alive and well one day, found dead in her bed by her husband in the middle of the night. I already wrote about this so I wont dwell more on it here.
The bad news for my family didn’t stop here though, it continued to degrade.
A couple of weeks after my nieces death, and two days before my daughters birthday, my mother in law suffered a major stroke. Of course they never know for sure how much damage such a stroke has done to someone, but as of the writing of this post, she has no movement on one side, very limited movement on the other, and has only spoken one or two words. A month later we still don’t know how she is going to fare.
But wait, there’s more!
Halloween night my brother’s wife of 35 years died. Much like my niece, she was in relatively good health and just died in bed. They were handing out candy to the trick or treaters when she told my brother that she didn’t feel well and was going to go lay down. My brother checked on her an hour or so later and found her dead in bed. I just can’t imagine what that would be like – to find your wife, mate, and best friend of 35 years cold and silent forever in your bed. My heart weeps to consider it.
So, just having returned from a funeral in Arizona for my niece a few weeks ago, I’ll be headed back to the west coast and Southern California for another funeral. First, I’ve got a job to do in Knoxville though, so I’m on a plane for the eastern US this morning, get home Wednesday night, take a shower and repack a bag just to head for southern California Thursday morning. I’m kind of tired, ya know?
Well, I made a trip to Colorado a few weeks ago and absolutely nothing of any interest occurred. I like going to Denver as it is a beautiful place, and it is nowhere near as hot as Austin Texas. I’m sick to death of the heat and look forward to the chances I get to get the hell out of it.
After the trip to Denver, I made a trip to Knoxville. Not a lot of interest occurred there either, but I did finally screw up the courage to spend some time shopping again, this time raiding thrift stores for records. I found some in both, a Goodwill and at a US Veterans thrift store. At both locations, I was treated with indifference, which is I suppose the most that we can ask for - to be treated just like anyone else.
I've got two or three things that have been making me more and more reluctant to spend the kind of time that I used to spend out in the world. As I imagine most of you have noticed, I've been obsessed for some time with my advancing age and the associated decline in my appearance. I'm not sure if it is purely vanity or if there are more relevant and laudable considerations, because as I get older and older, it's not just that my looks are declining, it's that I look distinctly more and more male. Getting less attractive, as presumably many women must eventually come to worry about, does not put your health and wellbeing at risk. For someone like me though, who is trying to pass as a woman, being perceived by others as an old man in a dress can definitely put my health and life at risk if I find myself in the wrong circumstances with the wrong people. This is related to and leads to my second reason for being more reluctant to spend time in the world these days - the distinctly changing attitude of many Americans toward the transgender. For many years I had felt an increasing comfort level that most people that I interacted with did not care that I was transgender. I felt that it was becoming more and more understood and therefore accepted. Much as it pains me to say so, I no long feel that this is the case. Right or wrong, based on facts and or just my emotion, I feel that there is a definite backlash in the US these days. It's as if a large part of America just decided one day that they had had enough of accepting people that were not like themselves, and they were going to start pushing back. It seems to me that this large group of people is gaining a momentum and building in numbers, and now feel free to be loud, vocal, and demanding.
It's such a mundane thing, but where I had always been nervous to use the ladies room when a gender neutral one was not available, I am now positively terrified. Physically I am exactly the person that these less than tolerant people are watching for. Regardless of my self-image, regardless of how I feel about myself, I am physically a male, and now it seems that there are people and even entire states that feel it would be appropriate to humiliate me for simply using a bathroom. When even members of your own family, who know you, love you, and have some understanding of what you are, are free and outspoken with their opinion that the MTF transgender have no place in their bathroom, you have to start questioning yourself.
Maybe I am a freak.
Maybe something is seriously wrong with me.
Maybe I should be ashamed of myself.
Shit, I dunno . . .
If you have read this blog and think I am just talking about bathrooms, then I've failed to get my feelings across. The whole bathroom thing is one small part of it; a symptom of a much larger disease - the growing intolerance in my country, and the growing speed with which that group is becoming louder, prouder, and more confident.
Oh, and if my friends and family would please stop dropping dead for a while, I'd sure appreciate it. . .