Crumbling walls…

I was in my teens when I started having intrusive thoughts, although I didn’t have a name for it at the time. I’d get sudden urges to jump over the railing in our shopping centre, fall in front of moving vehicles, and climb the railing of the bridge over our local huge highway. I didn’t want to die so those weren’t my thoughts. It was that simple.

I turned 13 years old in 1983, right at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. Back then the only choices for sexuality, as far as I knew, were gay, straight (aka normal), or confused/just make up your mind. I knew I was interested in boys, but had no concept of aesthetic attraction at the time. Everyone else must just be thinking he’s cute, right? People didn’t really want to have sex with a total stranger. I didn’t have a close friend to talk to about sex and relationships. I barely had any friends at all.

me in Yorkshire with County Town Singers

Me (in 80’s glasses) with the choir in Yorkshire England.

Things changed when I was 18 years old and the youngest member of an adult choir. We were having a concert and the director decided that one song needed a violin accompanist. The violinist was about my age and cute, in a vaguely anime sort of way. I was blown away by his talent and kept watching him. One of my fellow choir members noticed.

“She’s very good, isn’t she.”

She?

I looked more intently and realized that, yes, she was female… just very androgynous. And the feelings of interest hadn’t faded with this realization.

I didn’t want this. I deeply didn’t want this… in the same way I didn’t want random thoughts of suicide. This was the 80’s, when students and teachers alike talked about going to the gay community in Toronto to pelt passerby’s with stones and cans. It was considered a fun weekend activity. And I was bullied to an incredible extent. My assessment counsellor didn’t blink when I detailed my plans for suicide. She looked so horrified by my summation of bullying that I cut it short. I didn’t want more bullying. I couldn’t handle more bullying, so I pushed that thought deep and continued pushing.

On the rare occasion I had a thought like that girl is cute, I’d think of images of men I’d thought were cute to assure myself that I was indeed straight. I was completely, 100% straight. I had to be. Just like there was no way I could be suicidal. Those thoughts were all locked away as tight and hidden as I could possibly make them.

I grew up and had children and my collection of friends expanded. And the fleeting thoughts changed. Before it was just aesthetic attraction. Now, with close friends it was “I want to kiss her”. That’s the downside of demi-romantic. I have to be friends to have any interest in someone and I rarely have single and interested friends. Rarely meaning it’s happened exactly once. Again, I chalked romantic attraction to the same unknown issue that caused me to think of falling in front of cars. And, again, I pushed it as far away as possible. I was still 100% straight. Those thoughts weren’t mine.

It wasn’t until last summer that I looked up asexual and realized the description explained most of my feelings. And it wasn’t until I had working antidepressants that I realized the intrusive thoughts and the attractions were not from the same source. Depression does not cause romantic attraction. The walls started crumbling. I posted here about being asexual and hinted more and more blatantly on Facebook. And then a friend posted this in response to an article about an amusement park employee telling a gay couple they weren’t allowed to hug…

ShelleyAnn

She wasn’t an online friend. She’d been a coworker for two years and a friend for just as long. We did our Christmas shopping together and went out for lunch and a run to Michael’s Arts and Crafts last month. And she blocked me after I told her I wasn’t straight. The last of the walls crumbled with anger as I posted this on my Facebook wall…

This image is a post a former friend of mine made on a Toronto Star article about two men hugging (nothing more) in a line up at Canada’s Wonderland on Gay Day.

I messaged her privately, explaining I’m not straight (and as a demi-romantic asexual, I’m not), and asked if she still wanted to be friends. She assured me she did and that she’d posted that in defense of other people. Umm, not likely but I let it slide. We left on a good note (as far as I could tell).

Just now I went to tag her in a post about the new Ghostbuster’s movie and, whoops, she’s not there. I’ve been deleted and blocked.

I’m going to be blunt here. I’ve only been off suicide watch for two and a half weeks at this point and am still deemed too emotionally fragile to even attend full on group counselling. Please do not string me along, pretending to be friends and allowing yourself into my life, only to disappear because I *might* be romantically interested if we’re friends. This person was a real life friend who was going to attend my birthday and went out for lunch and shopping with me last month.

Right now I’m not romantically interested in anyone at all. The closest to anything romantic wise would be Andrea and this would be so not a surprise to her. And if you claim it is I’m blowing a raspberry at you pffft LOL. Even then it’s pretty much just joking around. At this point I’m pretty much ready just to say screw relationships and get another cat (but not for another year or two as Angel would have a coronary).

So, if you’re anti LGBTQ, please hit the unfriend button and shuffle yourself out of my life because, quite frankly, I can’t handle you right now.

As for the rest of you, thanks for staying *hugs*

The rest stayed and were overwhelmingly positive, which was a huge relief. Then I had my 46th birthday party yesterday and all my friends treated me exactly the same as before. Which is how it should be, because I really haven’t changed, but I know that isn’t always the case.

I don’t know what will happen in the future but my walls are down and someday I’ll start dating again.

Some days are interesting…

I dozed this morning and wondered what Jeremy’s speaker was trying to tell me. Underneath my sleep music ran a repeated loop of “beep beep beep beeeep” over and over. It sounded like Morse code but the only code I know, even vaguely, is SOS. Even then I’m not sure which is the dot and which is the dash.

I admitted defeat around four am, ate breakfast around five, and we were at Wal-Mart by eight. I’d planned on shopping today but at a more decent hour. Insomnia didn’t seem to care.

Jeremy wanted to buy potting soil with our grocery money. We don’t eat potting soil but I didn’t want an argument at Wal-Mart, I’m sure the employees have seen enough already, so I told zir to get a small bag and meet me in the grocery section.

“But why can’t you come with me?” zie asked plaintively.

Because I was tired, didn’t want to walk that far and, more importantly, wanted to sneak off and buy part of zir Christmas present. Jeremy doesn’t read here so I can spill the beans (so to speak). I bought zir a strand of lights for zir bedroom. But not just any lights, mirrored disco lights. Zie’s going to be so excited on Christmas morning.

“Because you can walk there on your own and I can get a head start on groceries.”

Jeremy huffed off and I hurried to the back of the store to buy zir present as quickly as I could. That part was a success at least, I got the last one.

I’d got our cashew milk and was musing over the fake meat when my phone buzzed. I put down the fishless filets and pulled it out. I’d forgotten to close Pokemon Go and, for some weird reason, the vegetarian section of Wal-Mart was teeming with Pokemon. I caught three then turned to grab the veggie ground when I heard a ri-iii-ip.

My capris were originally my Mom’s, who’d worn them for years before losing weight and passing them along to me. Fine, beige linen, which had now become too fine and more like shredded tissue paper. So there I was, catching Pokemon in the frozen aisle, with a huge rip in my pants from my crotch to my knee. I don’t think I could look any more mature than that.

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The epitome of maturity

This was when Jeremy showed up, dragging along a shopping cart full of soil. A small pot of ivy dangled off the side. Apparently zie translated one small bag to mean three small bags and a plant… and zie needed them all.

“It’s only $10 Mom,” zie assured me. “They’re three dollars each.”

Either zir math skills are worse than I thought or zie thinks mine are atrocious.

“One bag and the plant or two bags and no plant,” I replied. “That’s it.”

I turned to see if I’d picked up everything and felt, more than heard, another rip. This one was across my right butt cheek.

“I need to get new pants now,” I said as I wheeled my buggy toward the woman’s section.

“They better not be over ten dollars,” Jeremy muttered. “It’s not fair that you get new pants and I can’t have the soil I need!”

I walked through the store, pants flapping in the breeze, with Jeremy grumbling loudly behind me. I felt like the Pied Piper of snotty teens. Luckily the store was nearly empty so zie was the only one I gathered.

The first pair I tried were an extra large and too small. The fine print said that brand’s XL was size 13. Alrighty then. My button fell off between the second and third pair. Note, it didn’t pop off, that whole patch of fabric just fell to the ground. My capris were disintegrating as I shopped. Luckily my fifth try was a success, a pair of teal shorts that will thankfully match just about every shirt I have (except for the one I was wearing).

We picked up a new brand of kitty litter at Superstore then headed home. Well the brand was new to the kittens, the older cats have seen it before. Poor Lara looked about ready to burst when I changed the litter then she stared at the box in horror. It wasn’t her litter.

She cowered in the corner, looking miserable, and I remembered my Mom saying years ago that kittens learn how to use the litter from their mother. I undid my pants. This was so not what she meant. It was harder to stop peeing than it was to start. Lara stared at me the whole time.

“See,” I said reassuringly as I lifted her into the litter box. Each paw spread wide as she attempted to escape in mid-air, then she smelt the litter and stared at me in astonishment. A few seconds later she was pawing the litter herself and, seconds after that using it. Phew! One down… one to go. Hopefully Smudge will simply follow Lara’s example.

I changed that litter so fast!

Yesterday we bought new to us armchairs from Value Village…

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… today my parents came over so we could take our old futon to the dump.

I needed to pick up my scrapbooking pages, which I’d forgotten at Superstore so we got a quick ride to there too. We were standing in the check out lane when Jeremy started talking about speakers and I remembered zir speaker’s Morse code. Luckily Google came to the rescue. Three dots and a dash means V, commonly used as “victory” in the resistance.

Victory. Against whom? Is there a electronic rebellion? Who won? Should I be sleeping beside this speaker at night? Jeremy was already making me a new set of speakers. I’m not sure whether to give zir this one back or just give it a cigar and it’s freedom.

An offer from Assigned Male…

Sophie asked people to share her Facebook post widely and this is about as wide as I can get. She made a book titled “A Girl Like Any Other” four years ago and would now like to donate it to any interested elementary school teachers. In her words…

“As a former elementary school teacher, I know how limited classroom budgets are, but as someone who grew up trans, I also know how important it is for trans youth to be in contact with positive trans fictional characters.

As it’s almost back-to-school time, I want to send copies of the book for free to elementary teachers that are willing to have it in their classrooms. All they will have to do is to message me their school’s address on Facebook or by email before August 15th. I will also send them a link to download my “Genderific Coloring book” for free.”

Now, obviously that’s not going to be free. She’s estimating the cost for 200 books (plus shipping) to be $2568. That’s a lot for anyone, let alone a young artist, so she’s going to need help. Plus, to sweeten the pot, she’s offering any donations over her goal to the Trans Lifeline. Let’s overflow the hell out of her Go Fund Me (especially since she seems to have forgotten Go Fund Me takes fees out and has rounded down her total).

Plus, if you want a book but aren’t a teacher, or you home school and think this would be the perfect learning tool for your sproglet (yes, it is, go for it), or you want to donate the book to your favourite (willing) teacher… she also sells her book here. She sells colouring books, stickers, and her books en francais there too so run there and buy, buy, buy!

Sorry, Jeremy’s only asked to buy a  pick up truck today (neither of us drive) and the lack of spending requests is getting to me. I feel almost giddy.

Let’s overfill her Go Fund Me and help two important resources to the Trans community; Sophie and her art and Trans Lifeline and their willing and helpful ears. You can reach her via email at: sophie@assignedmale.com or through her Facebook Messenger. Good luck Sophie!!!

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Pruning the money tree…

Jeremy should have been born a millionaire, although if zie was, zie wouldn’t be by now considering how much zie loves shopping. One of zir first word combinations was “I need…” and it’s still widely used. From 80’s style tole painted geese (no child, just no) to $80 headphones (also no), there’s always something zie wants.

Sometimes Jeremy goes for the straight forward sales pitch to explain why this doodad is vitally important for the both of us… as if an extra fan in zir Windows 98 Dell in the living room will affect my life in any meaningful way. Occasionally zie resorts to flat out begging. And too often (even once would be too often) zie goes for underhanded by waking me up from a sound sleep. By the time I’m fully awake, zie’s got some form of agreement, the purchase has been made, and I can’t get back to sleep.

It’s the latter that made me decide to put a moratorium on spending, albeit one with a delayed start. No more shopping until the credit card is paid off… after July 12th. I couldn’t place it before then, I’m reasonably sure Jeremy would have had a shock induced heart attack if I’d put a shopping ban in before Amazon’s Prime Day. And we have two incentives. Jeremy wants to save up for a gaming computer while I want to save up to go to Tropical Islands in Germany for my 50th birthday…

Tropical Island

Pretty much my idea of heaven

We’ve downloaded Pokemon Go so we have an outdoor activity to share and bought Mario Kart for the Wii for our indoor activity; I’m a sucker for Mario Kart even though I routinely come in last. Plus we have our usual activities of scrapbooking, writing, reading, and Facebooking for me and video gaming, watching YouTube, and constructing/deconstructing electronics for Jeremy. That should keep us both busy without shopping.

Now I just need to wait and see if this works!

playing Pokemon Go

Jeremy playing Pokemon Go near our building❤

On food babies and brownies…

My jeans are a bit too tight. They’re uncomfortable to sit in and roll a bit at the waist. The same with my underwear and my smaller pair of shorts. My larger pair was already too big.

I weighed myself last year on this day and weighed 168 pounds. Today I weigh 194. A lot has happened this year and my weight reflects it. Severe depression and anxiety, a relationship with my best friend (after 15 years of being single) and the subsequent breakdown of said relationship, plus suicidal thoughts severe enough to be involuntarily admitted. I’m a comfort eater and my stomach reflects that. If I had a food baby, her name would be Double Chocolate Marshmallow Brownies. I have that recipe memorized.

Anxiety makes dieting tricky. It should be easy, just measure and write what I’m eating. I even have a Fitbit so I can track the food on my phone. Two minutes and my meal’s all tracked and calculated. Unfortunately I obsess over diets and the Fitbit tracker fluctuates easily between under calories, “in the zone”, and over calories.

I’d picked up an apple, it looked so good and I was hungry… plus I showed as under calories. The needle swung into over calories as soon as I selected “apple” for an evening snack. And then the panic started. I was so fat, I’d never lose weight. I was horrible at dieting… horrible at everything. How could I do this to myself? I needed to find something with less calories. Fat! Fat! Fat!

Then I looked back at the apple. It was healthy, damn it, and only 90 calories. Why was I panicking over an apple?!? And it wasn’t just the apple. I was panicking over licking a smear of peanut butter off my finger… an extra bit of broth in my soup… a couple of pieces of Jeremy’s popcorn. I can’t live like that. Suicidal and “I can’t live like that” are a deadly combination. I don’t go into that part of Fitbit any more.

What I’m doing is bumping up my fruits and vegetables, drinking lots of water, and walking. I’m dragging Jeremy along with me, although dragging is relative. Zie found a game called Ingress and decided to try it out. The best part is it involves getting out and walking to various portals all over our neighbourhood. The bad part is we have no idea what we’re doing.

“Aren’t you going to help me fight?” Jeremy said impatiently.

I looked over in surprise. We were standing beside a nearby apartment building, in front of a straggly garden. I’d been updating my Fitbit while zie jabbed at zir phone. I thought zie was looking something up.

“I didn’t know you were fighting,” I pointed out. “So, umm, what are we fighting and how do I fight?”

“We’re fighting the portal,” zie replied. “You push the fight button repeatedly.”

“So this is a weapon?” I pointed to an item on the screen. Luckily I had a lot of them.

“Yes… I think…”

Numbers rose up on the screen while my inventory went down. I threw two things that were probably weapons and something happened.

“Start hacking the portal while I fight,” Jeremy snapped. Zie was focused on zir screen, finger pounding the fight button.

The portal said it was unstable. Colours swirled around it. Then Jeremy ran out of weapons too.

“I don’t think we did anything,” zie said dejectedly.

“Do you want to try Pokemon Go?” I asked and zie nodded.

“I’ll have to trick Google Play into thinking we’re in Australia…” zie mused.

I don’t really want to know what zie’s doing to get us to appear down under, although I am proud of zir. Zie could download the game for free illegally but wants to pay for it. The downside will be trying to explain to MasterCard that, yes, we did make a purchase in Melbourne. I wonder if the agent will believe it was a day trip.

Technology is bringing Jeremy out of the apartment and giving me a walking partner. And hopefully Pokemon Go will be easier to figure out. Jeremy needs the exercise just as much as I do.

One thing I have to stop doing is making brownies. I have tried but don’t manage portion control with them. Unless you count a pan as one portion and then I’m doing amazing. Those brownies need to be a special occasion treat, not an “it’s Wednesday and I have chocolate chips in the cupboard and a free half hour”. My food baby is rapidly turning into twins.

Yesterday I walked to group therapy, went shopping with Jeremy (walking from one side of Super Walmart is a good number of steps), then went hunting for portals after dinner. This racked up a serious number of steps. Today I’m going to hit our downstairs gym and go hunting for Pokemon with Jeremy in the evening. I’ll leave tomorrow for when it gets here.

exercise

Our life… now with bonus kittens…

Jeremy and I had spent a wonderful morning shopping in a couple of stores we both know will be relatively quiet. I found a birthday card for my youngest nephew in Marshalls while Jeremy scored three bags of vegan white cheddar flavoured popcorn. We hit two aisles at Superstore then headed home before making a quick stop for cat food. That’s all we needed.

We were halfway there when a dream started rattling inside my head. I have absolutely wild dreams that are as rich and intricately detailed as a movie and its book counterpart combined. This one was giving me almost nothing, just a white kitten. Had I adopted one? Seen one? Danced the flamenco down King Street with one? Considering my usual dreams the latter seamed more likely but the former felt right.

“I wonder if there’ll be a white kitten there?” I mused.

“Umm why?” Jeremy looked startled, which was understandable considering we already have three adult cats, the baby being eight year old Oreo.

“I don’t exactly remember but I had a dream about a white kitten…”

“And you want to adopt one?”

“Only if there’s a white one,” I assured zir. “You don’t have to worry though, I dreamt about finding a white kitten and my dreams never come true.”

I didn’t bother pointing out that the store only holds adoptions about once a month for one day so the chances of a cat being there were slim to begin with, let alone finding a white cat. Except there was a one day only adoption sign out front. Hope began to fill my heart. Zie opened the door and made a beeline to the adoption cage. Jeremy didn’t crouch, zie stood looking.

“I take it there isn’t one,” I said a lot more cheerfully than I felt.

It wasn’t a question because, as I said above, my dreams don’t come true. Which, considering how bizarre most of them are, is a good thing.

Jeremy took a few seconds to reply. “There isn’t one white kitten,” zie said hesitantly, “there’s two.”

I was over there in a heart beat to see them then started working on getting the clerk to open the cage so we could check one out. She’d never held the kittens before and was hesitant to have anyone touch one. I pointed out it would be hard to adopt a cat if no one touched it. The kitten was not going to levitate itself to a carrier. I watched them both while she dithered. One was quiet and peaceful with a faint outline of M between her ears. The other looked about two seconds away from mischief, complete with a smudge of grey on her forehead that looked like a smear of dirt.

Jeremy was staring just as intently and wanted one equally as much. Luckily for both of us, zie had zir heart set on the peaceful one while I had mine set the one I’d already named Smudge. Then came the fun. They wanted cash only because the payment went directly to the Humane Society and couldn’t go through the till. So we had to go a block over to get cash. And the cash machine at the grocery store was broken.

“Umm, my teen and I are adopting two kittens and we need to get cash back. May I buy a dollar water bottle and get $180 back?” I asked the cashier. Luckily she was a regular  who’d chatted to us about Doctor Who before.

“You can buy a 5 cent bag and get cash back if you want,” she offered cheerfully.

“I’ll get the water bottle,” I replied. “Jeremy can buy the bag with zir card.”

With the money out of the way, we ran to the dollar store to buy balcony proofing materials. The kittens can’t fly any more than I can. I ended up buying a roll of mesh to cover the gap in the bottom of the railing and lattice fencing to add height to the top. Then we hurried back to the store so I could sign tonnes of paperwork and Jeremy could cart around both kittens while cooing and talking baby talk to them.

Colin and Lara

The kittens are, hands down, the best purchase I’ve made in a long time. Jeremy adores the kitten zie’s named Lara (pronounced Lar-ah like the character Lara Croft) and is absolutely besotted. The kitten loves zir just as much and comes running when zie calls. My kitten is a ball of independent fuzz who snuggles up against me at night, looking at me like I’m the most important person in the universe.

I wake up early these days, likely a side effect of my medicine. But the kittens wake early too. The past two days I’ve shooed them onto the balcony and sat, with a mug of hot chocolate, to watch them tumble, bounce and roll from one side to the other before relaxing on the outside cat tree.

Lara and Smudge on the outside cat tree

Lara and Smudge

Our older cats are unimpressed but the kittens are ignoring them and the cats are slowly relaxing. Blackie (our most skittish cat) ate beside Lara this afternoon, which is an amazingly positive sign.

Jeremy’s already talking about taking zir cat for walks once she has her shots.

“I could take Lara into the woods,” zie informed me happily. “I bet they’d like it. And maybe when they’re older, I could take them to the conservation area to see the big woods.”

Jeremy uses gender neutral pronouns for both kittens because zie doesn’t want to assume their gender or preferred pronouns for them, which is very sweet of zir.

I can make no promises for the future but I can be reasonably sure that tomorrow will find me, hot chocolate in hand, watching the kittens while the sun comes up. I can’t say that will be fabulous but it’ll be very nice.

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