A Walk in My Shoes: Dysphoria, Pt 3 (The Minds Eye)

Authors note: Everything in part 3 is written in the first person from Billy’s mind. Italics are direct thoughts.

I don’t think I can do this any more. I can’t keep pretending to be something I’m not. Why are you doing this to me. She leaned back and wiped the tears from her eyes and blew her nose. Why do I keep asking you stupid questions when you’re not real. What a fuck up I am. No omnipotent being who was supposed to love His (Her?) creation would be so cruel. You either don’t exist, or you are a complete asshole.

One time she had succeeded in killing her self. Freshman year, she decided she wasn’t going to dress in sweats for outside gym and ended with a severe case of mono. While she was on heavy medication, which included a high dose of codeine, she drank herself to death at an away football game by smuggling two ten ounce juice bottles filled with rum in her band hat and sucking them down after halftime in about five minutes. After initially refusing to help, the paramedics revived her from having no pulse or respiration for nearly five minutes. Why didn’t we sue the fuck out of them? The worst part was having to endure the lectures from the school administration about how I had embarrassed them and my classmates. Fuck that. She had played naive and pretended not to know how bad alcohol could be. Suckers!

She went over to her bureau and pulled out an over-sized t-shirt she bought at a Big and Tall store at the mall and slid it over her head. It was black and it fell down to about six inches above her knees. She pulled on a pair of underwear to help hide the very large bump that no girl should have, then grabbed the black banana clip buried in the back of her underwear drawer and went to the bathroom, where she pulled her hair back and snapped the hair clip in place. She leaned against the sink as she looked at herself in the mirror and almost smiled.

She wandered into the kitchen and poured herself a very large bowl of Capt’n Crunch and went into to living room to watch TV. There was a TV in her bedroom, but this one was larger and had better color. Saturday morning cartoons were not what they used to be, but it’s still Saturday morning cartoons. And, they still had Scooby.

It was just a long t-shirt, but to her it was a dress. And, the banana clip? That was everything. It was incredible the way it made her feel. For a short time, there was no turmoil in her mind and everything just seemed right. No need for drugs or alcohol.

When she was younger, and they still lived in the old house, she would sneak up to the attic where she had two or three of her sisters old dresses stashed away and she could wear them until her mother called her down. Mom never went upstairs. Her brother and two oldest sisters had moved out and her younger older sister was never around. Who could blame her, really. It got more difficult to get her dress time when her sister moved her room up there, but she still got dress time enough so she didn’t go crazy.

It wasn’t until they moved to the new house, and she didn’t get any dress time, that she started on the drinking. Then weed. Then Coke. And, oh what a wonderful discovery mescaline was. She learned early on the difference between that and LSD, when she got duped once. Only once. In order to get a big enough dose to get a good trip, it had to be in the large capsules. There was no way to get enough in those little tabs or dots, so they had to be LSD, which was okay if you couldn’t find and mesc, but nowhere near as good a ride. And, you didn’t want to pay for mescaline if you were getting LSD. Big difference in price.

She flipped channels after Scooby and found Jem and the Holograms. Even “Looney Tunes” is starting to suck. The new ones weren’t as good and the old ones just plain and simply got over-played.

Her stomach sunk and she thought she was going to vomit when she heard the car door close. She ran to her room, setting the bowl on the table on the way by, and had barely closed the door to the bedroom when her parents came in. Way to pay attention, Bekka.

In her minds eye, she was Rebecca. Bekka. Billy didn’t exist. It was so much better in in her mind. Fantasy was always so much better than reality. Especially when she dreamed.

She was a lucid dreamer, so the world was her oyster in her dreams. She was always a girl. All girl. She wore all kinds of beautiful dresses and got her hair done. She had both ears pierced, not just one, and always wore the nicest jewelry and perfect makeup. She did feminine things in feminine ways and it was just wonderful. She was still a drummer, though. And, she played baseball with the boys, not softball. She was the first woman to play in the Major Leagues. And, she was always with Jacey MacClain. (She was a cheerleader. And beautiful. And Bekka’s major crush.) Jacey meant beautiful moon.

Reality sucked. Big time. In reality, it was jeans and a t-shirt. Nothing pretty or feminine at all. And, no Jacey.

Tears started again as she pulled the clip from her hair and pulled on some shorts and a t-shirt.

She made small talk with her parents about their breakfast and told her mother she wasn’t feeling good when she asked if she’d been crying, and told her she would probably just curl up in bed and watch TV for the day.

When she got back to her room, she stripped naked and climbed into bed without turning the TV on. She was going to try to slip away into dream land where life was beautiful all the time and she could go to some exotic place and wear something that made her happy. And be with Jacey.

She thought it was a bit crazy that whenever she managed to have a girlfriend, she never included that girl in her dreams. Ever. It was always Jacey. Always.

* * * *

This dream was different. She could see Jacey near the senior wall, but they weren’t “together” for some reason. She looked around and noticed that she was him. She tried to change herself and failed. Panic rose and she(he) felt nausea in her(his) belly. Every time she dreamed about them before was never at school. It was always later in life.

Billy took a deep breath to steady himself and walked over and tapped her on the the shoulder to get her attention. She turned towards him with a weird look on her face. “Yes?”

His heart sank. This was not right. He swallowed, “I thought you might like to go to the prom with me.”

She laughed at him. As did anyone who was in hearing distance. “Why would I ever consider going to the prom with you?”

He turned and walked away with as much dignity as he could muster fighting back tears that wanted desperately to be shed. Everyone was laughing at him. Laughing and pointing. He needed to wake up.

Why the fuck can’t I wake the fuck up!”

* * * *

Who knows how long the phone rang before it finally woke him up. But it did wake him up.

“What?”

“Hey, Billy. I need you to come over.”

It was his current girl, Kensy. She sounded weird. “Not feeling it, today, Kenz.”

There was a pause before she answered. “I’m pregnant.”

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A Walk in My Shoes: Dysphoria, Pt 2

Click

“We live another day.” he mumbled to himself. He stuffed the gun between the mattresses and shuffled to the bathroom and climbed into the shower. The cold water didn’t coax him awake as much as he had hoped, so he left it cold longer than normal before he warmed it up to wash up and shampoo his hair.

After cleaning himself thoroughly, he dried off and wrapped his hair in a second towel, then wrapped the wet towel around him under his arms. As he looked in the mirror, he thought to himself that he could probably pass himself off as a girl if it weren’t for the Adam’s Apple. He clinched his fist tightly and as he heard his mother in the kitchen, he quickly dropped the towel to a position a guy would have it and walked back to his room.

He stripped the damp towel from his lower body and sat on the bed. A tear or two may have run down his face as he pulled on his 501’s, wishing it was a skirt instead of his jeans, then picked out a t-shirt. It would be Iron Maiden, today. He threw on some socks, wiped away the tears, cleared his throat and went out to face his version of reality.

He discovered that his mother did, in fact, have some diet pills. Two or three would do for the time being. Until he could find something stronger, anyway. Rick showed up, right on schedule, with some coke(a cola)s and Egg McMuffins. Billy choked down the sandwich, but drained the coke like it might be his last. Food was not his friend. But, the Coke certainly was tasty.

* * * *

It was always good to get lost in writing, because there was no time to think about anything else. It was after 2:00 in the afternoon when Rick left to go meet his girlfriend at the pizza place across from the Y, and Billy wandered back up to his room. The tough choice that now had to be made was whether or not to watch the second half of the first Creature Double Feature movie, or start a fresh one. HBO and TMC had nothing interesting, but channel 38 had an old pirate movie on. He liked to see the fancy dresses the ladies wore in some of these movies and wasn’t disappointed that this one had Maureen O’Hara in it and she always wore beautiful dresses in this type of movie. Decision made.

* * * *

Comedy and sarcasm are great instruments for deflecting pain and Dysphoria, so the world around you believes nothing is wrong and everything is perfect. Billy was an expert at this, and the times he was forced to be in the presence of other human beings were very difficult times to endure. Deflection became a shield from the outside world and walls were built to protect the true soul that resided within the shell that passed as his body. If people laughed when they were around you and felt good about themselves and at ease, they would be less likely to scrutinize you and and would be more apt to let something you say slide by if you happen to slip and say or do something feminine. Shit does happen.

His long hair was never questioned, because he was a drummer and musicians were allowed to be different. In fact, it was pretty much expected.

He was pretty sure he was doing a decent job of not letting anyone through, with the exception of two people he considered to be the only friends he had. Even they didn’t have a clue as to what he buried in the depths of his psyche, but he at least felt he could relax around them.

There were the other musicians he hung around with, of course. He loved to spend as much of his spare time at school as he could in the band room. And, his band mates were people he felt comfortable with and he really enjoyed their companionship, especially when there was no one else around who was willing to even try.

That’s why, in the Spring of his senior year, when something happened that caused them to go their separate ways and he was replaced, he was devastated. Many sleepless nights were spent trying to figure out exactly what that was. He kept trying to figure out if he had said or done something to give himself away, but no answer ever came to him. (In fact, no answer would ever come.)

Good thing he still had mescaline.

* * * *

The front end of his 1972 Monte Carlo held the road pretty good for a piece of shit death trap until it got up to around 100 MPH. (At least that’s what the speedometer said.) He loved to drive down and get on I-190 because the roads allowed him to open the bitch up and let her scream.

At this speed there was almost a sort of tunnel vision that developed and you couldn’t look away for a second, because one mistake and it was all over. As his speed increased even further, he could feel the whole car sort of float in the air.

There was no time to react to the debris in the road and he hit it on the left side and the car leaned hard to the right and both driver side wheels came off the ground. It was going to roll. This was how it was going to end. For what seemed like an eternity, the car was traveling at an incredibly stupid rate of speed on only two tires.

by an act of incredibly dumb luck, he felt something push the car back onto all four wheels and he zigged and zagged back and forth across the road , managing to bring the car to a screeching holt on the side of the road, with absolutely no skill on his part whatsoever.

“That,” he hesitated briefly, “was fucking awesome!”

* * * *

He heard his parents leave. His dad worked nights, and every Saturday, his parents would go out to breakfast. It was their thing, and they deserved the time together.

There was a bird chirping incessantly in the trees about fifty feet out side his window, and he knew for a fact there was just no way he was going to fall back to sleep, so he swung his legs over the side of the bed and forced himself into a sitting position. As routine would dictate, the .357 was soon in his hands. He popped out the cylinder, verified the round was there, spun it and pushed it back in before it stopped.

He appreciated the workmanship of the revolver he held. Polished steel. Three inch barrel. Wood grip. The longer barrel looked better, in his opinion, and was more accurate, but it was also more expensive, and you didn’t exactly need to be accurate at point blank.

Fucking bird was really pissing him off. He popped the cylinder and spun it again. It had taken quite a bit of oil to get it to spin the way it did. He got up and went over to the window to close it. Stuck. He set the gun down and went to push it down with both hands and slipped, knocking the screen out.

“Fuck me! Not my day, today.”

Squatting down in front of the window, he picked up the gun an pointed it in the general direction of the bird. “Bang.” He said quietly to himself.

Still squatting in front of the window, he absently popped the cylinder out and spun it again and put it up to his head. With tension on the trigger, he laughed and in a single quick motion, pointed toward the bird and

BANG!!!!!

He had never actually fired it before and the recoil really took him by surprise. Rocking forward onto his knees, he leaned against the open window still clutching the revolver and laughed. He had at least scared the bird away. Tears poured from his eyes as he rocked himself back and forth still leaning against the window thinking to himself, “Can’t catch a fucking break. What the fuck do I have to do to die?”

Dreams of Intention: Fire Witch; Pt 2

***

Her hair flowed in the wind as the skirt on the dress she wore caressed her legs. No matter how many times she experienced it, she never got tired of the way way the fabric of her skirts felt on her freshly shaved legs. It was pure ecstasy. She had chosen this dress this morning for the way it moved on her and felt against her skin. The green bohemian style also blended in well with the forest around her.

Today, she had decided to bring her leather satchel and several jars so she could gather any flora that would be useful in her craft. A Witch could never have too many herbs, spices, roots or any other such thing as the Goddess deemed fit to gift to the world. She also brought her camera, so she might get a good scenic picture, or, perhaps, a nice shot of some of the local fauna.

She had visited the area briefly twelve years prior to moving here, but had never explored the woods or taken part in any outdoor activities until actually moving here. She loved the way the purple and yellow played so well together wherever she would go.

Being in the woods, to her, was like the purest form of worship she could imagine. God and Goddess blessed her so often, and she always felt so very special when she was in the woods. She had lived at the sea for so long, and stood barefoot in the ocean with the sand between her toes and the salty air blowing around her, cleansing the soul. Yet, she never felt as good as when she walked through the woods.

She was fortunate in life as far as her ability to travel the country and see so much of it. She grew up in New England and lived in Florida for 28 years before moving here. She had been to Southern California, the North West, across the Plains, throughout the South East, Texas, the South West and even brief trips to Canada. The sceneries she saw were breathtakingly awesome. And, the animals?

Animals seemed to just come to her. She had pet deer and buffalo in the wild. Held squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons and opossums. Played with bobcats, foxes and coyotes. She once sat within feet of a pack of wolves in the White Mountains of Arizona. She watched a pair of beavers build a dam and handed one of them a piece of wood that they added to the structure.

In captivity, she played with a baby African Lion, a young white tiger, a Siberian/Bengal tiger, a cougar, a black bear, a brown bear, a grey wolf and a Golden Eagle.

Nature was her religion. If you had to have a religion, nature was the way to go. No rules. No obligations. Just be true to yourself and honor the Earth. She walked a solitary path and practiced in an eclectic way. When people asked her to put a name to it, she would tell them she is a Solitary, Eclectic, Gray Witch, drawn to Fire.

She loved the Spring most of all. The energy coming from all the new growth as it was reborn into the world, and the vibrations that accompanied that energy, was miraculous and fulfilling. It was like innocence reborn. A rebuilding of faith in all that surrounds you. The air is crisp and clean. The Sun is warm on your skin without feeling hot. And, life begins anew.

It is a time when you hear the chatter of the animals once again, and the rustling of leaves as parents teach their young to forage for their meals. The songs of spring fill the air and are so calming and soothing to witness.

As she was gathering some wild lettuce to add to the mushrooms she had already stowed in her satchel, she caught some movement from the corner of her eye. She turned to see a doe grazing at the edge of the clearing with her fawn close by frolicking in the grass. She sat as still as she could so she wouldn’t spook them if they didn’t know she was there and watched them. She was contemplating trying to get a picture, because she didn’t want the sound of the shutter to scare them off, when she sensed a presence behind her. Turning slowly, she lost her breath at the sight of the ten point buck that stood there watching her watch his family. She nodded to him and lowered her head to let him know she was no threat. He acknowledged her gesture by slightly nodding back to her and turning back to watch the fawn play.

After what seemed like too short a time, the buck grunted and walked across to the doe and then the family of deer disappeared back into the forest.

Rebecca rose to her feet and smiled at no one in particular as she glanced around the glen she had spent so much time in since moving here. It was magical here. The Spirits gathered here to laugh and play. And, to teach. She had reclaimed the sacred fire here. She had enjoyed the piece and solitude of the trees here. She was gathering much needed healing herbs here. She felt more at home in this glen than she ever felt anywhere else she had been.

As she smiled to herself once again, she turned to return to her home. It was her intention to grow in her true form here, and gain all the wisdom the glen had to offer.

Peace, Love, Light and Harmony.

Catie

***Photo Credit to Rupert Fleetingly

A Walk in My Shoes: Dysphoria, Pt 1

Billy walked along the train track the same as he always did. It was the most direct path from his parents house to downtown Bommer. It was dark and it was snowing heavy enough to obscure the tracks. There were large drifts on either side from the last time a train had passed. About the only passable path was the tracks themselves so he concentrated on where he was placing each foot instead of up the line. He tried his best to ignore the train coming at him from up ahead.

There was no adrenaline rush or need for urgency because he honestly didn’t care if he lived or died. If he made it, great. If he didn’t, no one would miss him in this small, piss-assed, back-water town in north central Massachusetts. Well, maybe his parents. Possibly his siblings. But, no one else would even notice he wasn’t around any more.

Today was his eighteenth birthday and he was on his way to Traxx, a bar that was, ironically, just off the tracks, downtown, to see if he could play pool good enough to hustle a couple of drinks. Maybe even make enough money to score some coke or mescaline. Anything to kill the emotional train wreck crashing constantly in his mind. Maybe it was a fitting end to get killed by a train on his birthday.

He glanced at his watch. It was 4:09. He was born at 4:09. Perfect. He closed his eyes as the train swept by him just as he stepped off the trestle and over the side of the bridge that crossed the river.

It was close. Most people would have pissed or shit themselves it was so close. Billy was just annoyed he now had to wait for the train to pass. He contemplated 409. It always showed up when life seemed to be fucking him over, but, some how, everything always seemed to work out in the end. He even really liked the song by The Beach Boys. Some day he would have to look into reoccurring numbers and if they meant anything.

As the train seemed to be taking forever to pass, he hugged himself against the cold and started to drift off and found himself contemplating his life to this point. He thought he was a girl when he was very little and it wasn’t until his mother off-handedly referred to him as her son when he was around three that he found out he wasn’t. If he was a boy, then why did he want his hair long? Why did he prefer to play with the girls? Why did he wish he could wear the pretty dresses they wore? Why? Why? WHY!!?

As the last car passed, he got up and tried as best as he could to knock the snow off himself so he didn’t get soaking wet when he thawed out at the bar. Still contemplating his life, he continued his trek towards the possible drugs and alcohol that awaited him. Billy chuckled in irony as he remembered puberty. Brain function of a girl with all the working and very functional body parts of a boy. The cruelest joke from a so-called God who is supposed to love us was a very well endowed, functional body part of a boy.

There was absolutely no way in hell that any boy who was well endowed would brag about how big their penis was. Anybody who bragged about having a large penis definitely didn’t have one. These things were constantly in the way and very uncomfortable to have. He always had to wear pants that were too big for him and baggy T-shirts so when “Mr. Hyde” decided to make an appearance he didn’t have to worry about the damn thing sticking out of his pants for everyone to see.

And, talk about insane confusion? Why, if he was a girl, did he enjoy using the damn thing the way a boy does with girls? And, why could he have multiple orgasms like he heard girls could but boys don’t? For that matter, why was he attracted to girls and had no desire whatsoever to be with a boy?

WHY!!?

Finally making it to his destination, he stepped through the door, soaking wet, with just one goal. Get so fucked up he could just stop thinking. It was always better that way.

As he walked across the room, he nodded to those who said hi as he passed and walked up to the bar. He dropped a dollar on the bar. “Coke.”

The bartender nodded and pushed a large cup over to him. “Those guys have had enough ta drink, ya shouldn’t have any problems.”

Billy took a sip from his Coke and smiled at the Dex. “Just the way I like it.” With lots of rum, he thought to himself as he turned and walked over and set his quarters on the pool table.

The trick to making money shooting pool at a bar, is to lose the first couple of games making it as close as you can. Then, win one and lose again. Then, start winning more than you lose and always lose the last game. Billy played this perfectly and got well sloshed before he left the bar with a pocket full of money.

The next question at hand was; did he want cocaine or mescaline? Definitely mescaline. He crossed the street after leaving Traxx and went right, past the Y, and then right again, which took him past the Police Station, then left and past the factory, then up the hill toward the lake. There was always someone there willing to part with drugs for cold hard cash.

He would not be disappointed to find several someone’s, because that meant he could get it cheaper, which, in turn, meant more. More meant he probably wouldn’t have to make the trek again tomorrow.

Note to self: Get the fucking car fixed so he didn’t have to walk everywhere.

* * * *

The phone woke him up from a dead sleep. The incessant ringer took several tries to get his attention before he answered it. A fellow musician needed some help writing a song. He had a great melody, but couldn’t find any words that deserved to accompany it. Billy agreed to help and Rick would be by in about an hour to work on it. There was a studio in the cellar and they could work there undisturbed as long as they needed.

Billy had no idea how he got home last night. Let alone how he got naked and into bed. The good news was he never had any type of hangover. Ever. Well, once. A little. The bad news was he didn’t think a shower would wake him up enough to function properly for writing. Should have gotten some coke last night for a little pick me up this morning. Maybe his mother had some diet pills that might work.

As he dragged his happy ass out of bed, routine kicked in and he reached under the bed, between the mattress and box spring, and pulled out the .357. He popped the cylinder out, verified there was a single hollow point round in it, spun it and pushed it back in. Then, he put it to his head and pulled the trigger.

All Sarcasm Aside

So, I woke up one morning about five years ago and decided that I wanted to make my life a whole bunch more difficult. I thought long and hard about how I wanted to achieve this goal, and it took me a while to figure it out. What I decided, after thinking about this for some time, was that I wanted to get a maximum difficulty rating.

The question is, how would I go about having people ridiculed me, put me down publicly, threaten to beat me up, threaten to kill me, threaten to rape me, and call me all kinds of bigoted names and essentially ruin my life? The logical conclusion, to me, was to become transgender. I mean, after all, what group of individuals is more hated in the world right now, right?

So, all I had to do, is become transgender. It should be easy. All I have to do is buy a dress. Right?

WRONG!!!!

All sarcasm aside, (and it comes real easy to those of us born and raised in New England) let me see if I can set the record straight.

One does not become transgender. It is not a choice. Transgender people are born this way. It’s like having red hair or being left handed. Approximately 3% of the worlds population is transgender. Get over it.

When a transgender person walks into a restroom, it is because they want to use the facilities. They want to relieve themselves, wash their hands, check their hair and makeup (if they’re a girl), and leave. That’s it. It’s not rocket science. Stop making a federal case out of it. In the last 25 years there is not one case of the transgender individual committing a crime in the restroom. There were literally hundreds, possibly even thousands, of crimes committed against transgender people in the restroom.

Transgender women did not transition so that they could take your jobs. That’s right, I’m talking to you, TERFs. It is actually more difficult for a transgender woman to find a job than it is for a cis-gender woman to find a job. It is this transgender woman’s experience that it was a lot easier finding a job while I was still pretending to be a man than it is trying to find a job since I transitioned.

Even this site where I write my blog automatically AutoCorrect’s every time I say transgender to transgendered. It corrects a lot of my vocabulary that is absolutely positively incorrect. The word transgender (I just to to correct this. Case in point) is an adjective. It is not a noun. It is not a verb. An individual is not a transgender. An individual is not transgendered. An individual is a transgender person.

As a group transgender people, be a transgender men or transgender woman, take their lives into their hands every time they walk out the door. They are not here to hurt you. They are not here to make your life more difficult. They simply want to live.

Maybe the world should focus on stopping wars and living in peace rather than picking certain groups and individuals and telling them they don’t have a right to live. Maybe you don’t have a right to live, but, I assure you, we do.

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. NOT!

This blog is going to be a bit different. I usually go on about whatever is on my mind at the time and it turns into what I hope people will think is a good read that’s educational and informative. Though I hope the same for this one, I’m going to write several anecdotes about things that happen at work. They didn’t all happen on the same day. But, they all happen. The trick is learning to cope with all the ignorant, ass cocks you run into every day, enjoy the good things that happen to the fullest, and laugh and shake your head at the stupidity.

1) I work in the plumbing department. Me and a coworker from the same department came around the corner to find a woman on our phone at the desk. We asked her if we could help her and she said yes. She wanted information on heaters. Heaters are not in our department. We asked her why she was on the phone and she said she wasn’t on the phone. We’re still trying to figure out that whole situation.

2) One morning when I was opening the store I had a group of three people came in essentially when we open the doors. As I was returning from the morning meeting I went up to the first person and asked if I could help. They showed me a fitting and said I think this is what I need to do this particular thing and I told him it was correct. As I approach the second person, they asked where particular item was and I directed them to it. The third person I came to handed me a brass fitting and told me that he needed one just like it but opposite. The brass fitting had a flare half-inch male on one side and a compression half-inch male on the other. I gave him what I believed he asked for which consisted of the female fittings. He insisted this isn’t what he needed. He needed the same thing he had but the opposite. Once again I explained to him that this was everything that he asked for. He once again insisted that he needed exactly what he had but the opposite. I took it out of his hand turned it around and put it back in his hand and I swear you could see the lightbulb go off in over his head. He actually didn’t think to just turn it over and use it the opposite direction.

3) One day while I was at work, I had to go use the facilities. As I was coming out of the facility, this old woman was heading in. When she saw me her eyes went wide and she backed up right into the wall behind her. You would think she just saw Satan incarnate in front of her. She went and complained to the head cashier who told her that I did in fact belong in the ladies room so she asked to see a manager, who told her the same thing. I haven’t seen her in the store since. Apparently, people like me shouldn’t even be in the store and I should’ve been fired. Well, according to this “lady”, anyway.

4) As I was doing some zoning in my department, I came across several items that were left by customers from other areas of the store. After I had several of these items built-up I decided to return them to their respective departments. As I was walking down the center aisle of the store, this couple, I would say in their 30s with two kids, came out the end of one of the side aisles. When they saw me they backed up and the mother reached down and pulled the kids in towards her to protect them like I was going to eat them for breakfast or something. It was actually hysterical the way they reacted like I was a lion or a tiger or a wolf or something that was going to do her children harm. How do people learn to be so naïve about other people?

5) I was working a mid shift one day, and could tell as soon as I got there that my coworker was having a bad morning. I immediately jumped into helping to try and alleviate some of the tension with the customers. This woman handed me her phone with a picture on it of a water supply line. It was a 20 inch, 3/8 by 1/2 inch supply line. She informed me that she needed the same thing but in 24 inches. I told her that I could give her a 30 inch supply line. She informed me that 30 inches was too long, she only needed 24 inches. I assured her the 30 inch line would work just fine and that they did not make a 24 inch supply line. When I handed her the 30 inch supply line she told me that she could not use that one because it was backwards. It took me half an hour to convince this woman that it was the same line it was just written the opposite way on the line I gave her as it was on the line in the picture.

6) One day when I was working the department by myself, I received a phone call from a customer asking if we had a certain item in stock. Knowing where the item is kept in the department, I walked down to take a look to see if it was on the rack. I informed him that we did have two in stock and that he could come and pick it up anytime he wanted. He demanded at this time that I have it down and on a cart and up front waiting for him when he got there, because he didn’t have time to deal with waiting for it once he got here. I told him I was not allowed to pull any items off the shelf that weren’t paid for. He got extra pissy with me and told me, “it’s bad enough I’ve got to talk on the phone with a fucking freak like you. I’m not gonna go back there and have to deal with you in person.”

7) I was returning from the receiving area with an associate after putting a piece of power equipment away. We were walking through the aisle with the hot water heater’s and there was a gentleman standing there looking very perplexed. I asked him if there was anything we could do for him. He told me that he was looking for a particular hot water heater. I informed him that we do not have the hot water heater’s that he was looking for in stock but I’ll be happy to look it up for him. He looked at me and said, “I don’t want you looking it up for me.” My associate then offered to look it up for him. At this point the man just turned and walked away. Later that day one of the ASMs came back to the department to let us know that the customer had complained about service in our department. I knew right away who he was talking about because he mentioned hot water heaters. I told him that I offered to look it up and what the guy had said, and that my associate had offered to look it up for him as well. It was at this time that he informed me that the guy told him that ***** should not have an abomination to God working in their store and that I should be sent to hell as fast as possible. My ASM informed him that he didn’t need to shop at our store if he felt that way.

I saved my all-time favorite for last.

8) I had been working in the store for about a week and a half when I went down the faucet aisle to ask a couple if I could help them. They both looked at me with with pure unadulterated hatred in their eyes. The man, somewhere in his mid 20s, looked at me and told me to get the fuck away from him. That I shouldn’t be alive. His wife snickered as he continued to tell me what a despicable, lowlife, piece of shit, nothing I was. According to him, I was a freak of nature and should be put out of my misery. He informed me that if he ever came across to me when I was not at work, he would see to it that I would never bother another human being again because he would send me to hell where I belong. After this experience was over, I went up to the store manager and told him what had happened. I asked him how I should handle the situation. He informed me that the most important thing was to offer “excellent customer service”. I’m still trying to figure out how I’m supposed to offer excellent customer service when I’m dead.

And people wonder why transgender people are suicidal.

Losing Male Privilege: Pt 2; And, Hating This Time of Year

I have written about losing male privilege before. At that time I didn’t have the first damn clue what it really meant to lose male privilege because a lot of the people who were treating me differently were people who had known me all along. After my recent move to Missouri, and my subsequent job search and employment, I have really come to learn what losing male privilege really is all about. What it really comes down to, when you think about it, is double standards.

I’m really starting to understand what it’s like to have to deal with double standards. I’m not talking the “Little” double standards that parents sometimes use when raising a boy and a girl to prepare them for the reality of the world. I’m talking the full-blown double standards that you’re trying to prepare them for. Almost to the point you wish you would’ve paid more attention to the lessons you were trying to teach your daughters.

I’m going to use an example from my current place of employment. As many of you know I work in a national home-improvement chain store. (I never mention of the name because I don’t want to lose my job for saying something about it in social media that could be construed as negative and allow them to fire me.) I started working at the store in early June. A young white male (let’s call him X) started working in the store in September. I was told that it would take longer to get, let’s call it “certified”, because of the department I was working in. It was harder to learn and it was always busy so it was more difficult to do the training necessary to get “certified”. It took me about five weeks. X, the young white male who was hired after me, got “certified” in three. At the time I joked about how I didn’t feel he was ready but no one really listened to me.

There are certain pieces of power equipment that you have to learn how to use and get checked out on before you are allowed to use them. I did all the computer training necessary, then I had to wait almost 4 months to get checked out on all the equipment. X got checked out on the same equipment either on the same day or the following day that I did. I see him always trying to suck up to the managers and he cries and whines anytime I suggest for him to stop socializing and to actually do some work. In the last three days that I have been at work, I have had four people come up to me and ask me what was going on between he and I, I have spoken to coworkers to get their opinion as to what I should do, as well as spoken to our immediate supervising manager. And, it doesn’t seem like anybody wants to do anything about the situation. All anybody wants to do is talk. It has been my experience, having run a multimillion dollar business, that talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words, as the saying goes.

Management at this particular facility has to be some of the absolute worst I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ve been in the workforce for over 30 years now and have had my share of employers and management that I didn’t care for, but, I would go to work for anyone of the other places before I want to work for current management at this particular facility. They can’t seem to think outside of the box or make a decision on their own without looking it up in the manual to save their fucking lives. If you talk to every single associate on the floor, between 60 and 70 percent of them will tell you they have absolutely no confidence in management whatsoever. It has been made perfectly clear on more than one occasion that the customer is more important then the employee. It should always be the other way around. Without the employees you don’t get to open your store and have customers. You might want to think about that for a little while, management.

I started writing this about 10 minutes before I got up to get ready for work two days ago. I went through the workday stewing in an emotional landslide and angry about damn near everything. I’ve written in the past about how I’ve been threatened at work by customers and ridiculed or otherwise put down in some other way, so maybe you could have just a little peek at what I have to deal with during the workday. That day was just so much worse than any others. I figure I get threatened at least once a day, and mocked or ridiculed about an average of three times a day when I’m at work.

I hate my life right now. All I do is go to work and close myself in my bedroom when I’m at “home”. And that’s just fucking bullshit. Life should have meaning. There should be some purpose to your existence besides just merely surviving. If the best thing you’ve got to say about your day is that you woke up this morning, then somethings wrong with your life. How do people just drudge through the day simply surviving. We shouldn’t have to work to survive. We shouldn’t have to get up and go to jobs we hate just simply to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. There has to be excitement in our lives. Something we look forward to. Dreams to fulfill. Places to go. People to make us happy.

I have always hated this time of year. December holds a lot of very bad and painful memories for me. I’ve always managed to muddle through with a smile on my face and celebrate the holidays with my family while trying to show my children a good time so that this time of year could be happy for them. But inside I was always suffering. I think it’s always harder when you are alone this time of year. It’s easier to go through difficult times when you’re surrounded by people laughing and smiling and singing, than it is to go through difficult times when you’re alone. This is the second time in three years that I’ve had to go through the holidays with nobody with me. My mood has been all over the place and I’m having a difficult time just dealing with every day life right now.

I think that this year is even more difficult because I am currently not taking all of my hormone supplements. I’ve been off my testosterone blockers for almost 4 months now and my emotions have been all over the charts and it has been very difficult for me to handle. I am living in a place that I don’t care for, away from a lifestyle that I grew to love and care for very much, and there is currently no direction in my life whatsoever, and I’m in that stage where I kinda don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. LOL.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just feeling sorry for myself. I just don’t want to look back on my life at the end and say “I wish I had”. I want to look back at my life and say “I’m glad I did”.

Dance of the Fire Witch

She walked out of the woods and into the clearing like she owned everything before her. She was dressed in loose clothing that floated around her as the breeze moved through the glen. She raised her hands above her and swayed her hips in a magickal dance as she chanted in a tone so soft only she and the Goddess knew what she was saying.

It was a clear crisp night and the moon was full as it rose up over the trees and hills and hung there watching. A giant orange orb, its light shimmering in the water of the brook as it babbled and made its way across the rocks and down the slightest drop of the hill.

She brought her hands down and straight out to the side and smiled as she slammed her palms together in front of her and a bolt of lightning struck the ground igniting the fire that would burn for the remainder of the night. As she stood in the clearing, barefoot upon the Earth, the water running in the brook, the breeze wafting about the clearing and the fire burning before her, she knew that she had brought all five elements together this night.

She danced around the fire. Swaying in rhythm to a melody only she and Gaia could hear. Slowly moving in the night as a tribute to her Matron, and her love and devotion.

The fire was nearly smokeless. It burned with flames of deep red at the base and flowing into bright orange before it turned to yellow at the outer edges with its extreme tips radiating a green that can only be found in nature.

When she had exhausted herself of dance, after hours of circling the flames, she came to a rest at a place she felt was right for her to meditate. She reached into the pouch hanging from her waist, and removed and handful of crushed sage and lavender with some cedar and Palo Santo dust mixed in. She threw it into the flames as she chanted some more in a cadence most humans could not understand or even approve of. She rocked back and forth, gyrating as the chanting grew in volume and intensity until it reached its crescendo.

Everything became unnaturally quiet. Only the crackling of the fire and the sound of the brook where heard.

The aroma of the smoke filled the air and she took several deep breaths of it into her lungs and quieted as she went into a deep meditative trance and gazed into the fire.

The flames morphed into various shapes, playing out events and scenes before her, showing her the faces of friends and enemies as she gazed unblinking at the flames of hope and possibly despair. She saw things most would fear. Even others like her shied away from the flames of knowledge for fear of the unknown. But, she took it all in stride because she had seen it all before and always came away stronger and full of new knowledge and understanding. She had reclaimed the fire, lost by many a soul, many years ago, when she was just a maiden. She had nurtured it as a mother, and now knew it as a dear old friend, as a crone.

She rose from her knees and once more danced around the flames in joy, with thanks and understanding in her heart. She danced and chanted until the sky began to lighten in the east and the moon began to slip once more from sight.

As she came to a halt, she stared once more for a lingering moment into the flames and then said a single magickal word and the flames slowly faded until they were a single little fireball that rose up into the air and nestled neatly into her outstretched palm. She closed her hand around it and brought it to her chest and slowly opened it, pressing it to her chest to allow the flame to return back into her heart where it belonged. She held out her skirt and made a neat little curtsy to the Earth. When she rose up, she turned and walked from the clearing.

As she entered the woods, she smiled. She was a daughter of the Old Ways. She walked the ancient path. She was a dreamer. She was a lover of nature. She was a healer. But, most importantly, she was a Witch. A Fire Witch, who danced with flames in her heart.

The Difference Between Before and After

Before and after what? Transition.

If you are family and have known me all my life, or an old friend who has known me since school, it might be all right and/or acceptable to accidentally call me by my dead name or in the masculine. Especially if you don’t see me that often. After all, you knew the person I pretended to be much longer than the authentic woman I am now. A slip is understandable every now and then.

If, however you have met me since I began my transition, you don’t get the right to make that mistake. If I was introduced to you as Catherine, Catie, or Cat, then that is how I expect to be addressed by you. How you even learned my dead name is beyond me. And, if I was introduced to you as Catherine, then I was most definitely introduced to you as a woman. So, masculine pronouns are totally unacceptable. How arrogant do you have to be to look at a person standing in front of you with a feminine haircut, wearing make up, a dress and/or skirt and call them Sir or he or by their dead name?

You don’t have the right or the privilege to even consider addressing me in the masculine or by my old name. You did not earn the right by putting in all the time that my older friends and most definitely my family did. The so-called slips are just absolute and positive bullshit. They are an excuse from feeble minds who are unable to except the reality that is laid out in front of them.

My mother calls me Catie!! If she can respect me and call me by my chosen name and refer to me as her daughter, there is no acceptable reason on the face of the planet why you can’t do the same. I never thought she would accept me. My father, who has dementia carries a piece of paper in his pocket so he can remember and respect me. Again, if he can do it, there is no excuse for your lack of respect.

So, here is a simple request, from me to you. If you can’t call me Catherine, Catie or Cat, and use the feminine pronouns, and otherwise refer to me in the feminine, please remove yourself from my life. You do NOT get to have the pleas of being in it, and I have better things to do with my time than deal with the likes of you.

I give you my Peace,

Catie

2600

You’re over reacting.

You can’t let it get to you.

Ignore them.

Walk away from it.

It’s not worth it.

The problem is, the people who say these things aren’t experiencing the crap I am on a regular basis, because they are cis-gender heterosexuals. They don’t feel the prejudice leveled against someone like myself, and can never experience hate on a level I had no idea existed in this world. I experienced more instances of prejudice and favoritism in the last 6 months than I have in the last 50 years. Let me walk you through some of the things that I experienced in the last 24 hours.

Those of you who read my blog regularly know I work in a nationally owned home improvement store. I closed last night (Friday) and opened this morning (Saturday)and just got done working 18 of the last 27 hours. I don’t mind working, I just want you to understand that this all happened at work. In no particular order.

Let me start out by saying that there are certain individuals I work with who refuse to look me in the eye. Some of these same people won’t even say hi to me. There is one in particular who will hang up the phone and page the department if I answer phone rather than have to speak to me. There are still several people there who insist on referring to me in the masculine, and this really bothers me because there is no one there who knew me before my transition.

There are certain members of management that will sit in other departments and joke with associates, but will go out of their way to try to catch me when I’m resting or thinking out my next plan of attack and have words with me about it. There are also some things I have been trying to get checked out on training wise that no one seems to want to do for me, but others who haven’t been there as long as me seem to be getting checked out on with no issues.

As I wander the store doing returns or helping a customer. I notice other associates sitting and looking at their phone or goofing off with each other, yet when I sit or pull my phone to check the time or look something up work related, I’m told that it’s not allowed.

I had a customer threaten to “beat my freak face in” if I dared speak to any of his family again or “show up in the same aisle” as them.

I had another customer threaten to send me to hell “where a fucking freak of nature like you should be.”

Names I’ve been called during my last two shifts alone; freak, fairy, faggot, sinner, abomination to god, waste of life, she-man and sissy boy.

When I brought these threats and abuses to the attention of management, I was told that the most important thing was “to give excellent customer service.” The current store manager believes that the customer is the most important person in the store. Associates are not allowed to defend themselves in any way and are required to tolerate this sort of abuse.

I’ve talked to several co-workers in the store and several of the girls have been sexually assaulted verbally and touched inappropriately. Several of the Black employees have experienced prejudice and verbal abuse. At least one of the gay men suffered from verbal threats in front of a manager. At no time did management even pretend to have our backs and support us in any way.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many coworkers I look forward to seeing and smile with meaning when they see me. There are several regular customers I have a great rapport with. But, I just can’t seem to get past the assholes I have to deal with on a regular basis.

With policies like this They better hope they never stop improving.

Love and light, my friends,

Catie