What’s Pride?

I thought about writing a blog. But, no one reads it anymore. I’m sure if more people saw a new one posted they would read it, but Facebook just plain fucking sucks and won’t let people see your posts unless you pay them. It’s greed. Pure and simple greed.

No one thinks randomly, “Hey, I wonder Cat’s got a new blog,” and goes to dragonsfaerie.Wordpress.com to find out. I wouldn’t. So, I’ll try this, instead.

My day started out bad, got worse, then went south from there.

I saw a picture of the Pride Flag flying at Fenway last night, and made the mistake of reading the comments. Never. Read. The Comments. The hate and malice in a large number of the comments was horrifying. I started crawling back inside myself.

Then, I tried for over five hours to try to get ahold of one of my medical care givers. How hard is it to call back when it’s important? Your Gateway doesn’t work, so I can’t use that to answer the questions you sent me on it. I explained quite clearly to the person who answered the phone, not noooo.

When I go out in public, I get stared down by some asshole who hasn’t got a clue what’s going on in my head. Trust me. If they knew they would have avoided eye contact with me at all cost. I was ready to light this asshole up when a nice older woman asked me for help getting something off a high shelf.

One of the reasons I wrote my book was so people might get a glimpse of what it’s like for me to deal with reality on a regular basis. I guess I failed at that. I’ve been told my main character rubs people the wrong way by middle-aged cis-gender people who were never abused as a child. How could these people possibly understand? There’s no way they possibly could. These people must have thought I was a right fucking asshole back in high school, because, emotionally, the main character reacts exactly like I would have.

Listen, I know the book is far-fetched at times. I meant it to be that way. I guess I thought people would be able to understand that they weren’t getting the whole picture, and it was going to unfold slowly. Nope. Wishful thinking on my part.

I guess this is a blog after all..

Oh well. Happy Pride Month. I hope all the transphobic people out there have a very uncomfortable June and beyond.

Maybe tomorrow will be better. Here’s to hoping it will be.

Why We Shouldn’t Judge

I often have conversations with people that end up taking on a life of their own, and I end up giving a life lesson to someone who had no clue what goes on in other peoples minds. When I see a light come on in their eyes, I know I’ve made an impression, and that usually leaves me feeling good about it.

I had one such conversation with a young man I recently started working with. He asked me about being transgender, and did so in a respectful manner, so I answered his questions the best I could. There were the standard, usual questions, like how long have I known, and was it hard to come out to family, and things like that. The conversation somehow turned to my book and how I thought my main character would be misunderstood, and he asked why.

It’s very hard to explain something to someone, if they have never experienced anything even remotely like it, themselves. How do you write about the mental instability of a person who experienced extreme mental, verbal and physical abuse to someone who was raised in a loving, stable family? How do you relay the feelings of extreme disphoria to someone who has never questioned the gender they were assigned at birth? How do you portray the overwhelming desire to bring your life to an abrupt end to someone who has never held a gun to their head, or swallowed and entire bottle of codeine cough medicine and chased it with151?

We often never see the signs of depression in the ones we love, and question why they chose to end their life. I chose to slowly make my character reveal her inner demons to her therapist, like peeling away layers of an onion. The reader will slowly learn why she reacts the way she does, while perhaps not understanding it while it unfolds in the storyline.

Perhaps I did this too well. The feedback I am getting from people is they think she is bossy, or a spoiled brat. She is a very troubled and disturbed young person who is trying desperately to figure out who she it, and how to survive the life she was born to.

Like the iceberg in the picture, what we see on the surface, isn’t the complete story.

It’s The Way I Feel

If I asked you to describe the coin in the picture above, one side at a time, without actually calling it what it is, you might describe it as follows:

“Heads”, or obverse side; it is a silver colored coin that says liberty on top, has a date on the bottom, has the words In God We Trust to the left side of a profile of president George Washington.

“Tails”, or reverse side; it says United States of America across the top, has the value of the coin on the bottom, there’s a display of a spread winged eagle sitting on a branch on the silver colored coin.

What it all breaks down to, honestly, is that both ways describe the same coin. A quarter.

Well, that’s how I feel about politics. You have one group posturing on one side. Then, you have another group posturing on the other side. But, it all comes down to two different sides of the same damn coin. It’s as simple as that.

Neither side of the political spectrum represents me in anyway. So, all you people who are angry that the other side won, or ecstatic that your side won, Are really just, in my humble opinion, anyway, not that far away from each other. Don’t expect me to side with either one of you. And, you certainly don’t get to try and shove your ideals in politics down my throat.

I’m so tired of the politics that I see, especially on Facebook, in every day life where it absolutely positively does not need to be. Let it go. Just. Let. It. Go. You can do it. I know you can.

I won’t bore you with the percentages and all that other stuff. I’ve done it all before. And I’m not gonna go into it again. You can always go back and read my other blogs if you want to know what I’m talking about. But I think it’s a sad and pitiful and shameful thing that a minority of the people get to tell the majority of the people what they can and cannot do. But, that’s the way our republic works and until constitutional amendments are put in place, that’s the way it will continue to work.

So, just get over yourselves, already. Will you? Please?

It’s really the only way we’re going to be able to put the stupidity we’re going through right now behind us, and move on to making our country a better and more pleasant place to live.

There. I have spoken my piece. We can now return to our regularly scheduled program.

Peace, Mistress Catherine. 

Coming of Age

No. Not as in puberty, or driving, or drinking, or anything like that. I’m talking about coming into that age later in life when you come to realize that you really see things from a rather different point of view than you used to. You have become a Crone(female)/Sage(male).

I came across this post on Facebook where a woman was talking about “working to become a Crone.” I never knew one had to ‘work’ to become a Crone. I mean, other than putting in the years and living long enough to come to that epiphany. That’s what it is. An epiphany.

I didn’t work towards becoming a Crone. One day I was talking with some friends, and one of them turned to me and said something along the lines of, ‘wow, you’re a Crone.’ I remember thinking; am I? Really? Then a couple weeks later, someone else referred to me as a Crone. So, I figured I must be if people think of me that way. Right?

It was an epiphany. I’m a Crone. What a wonderful compliment to be thought of in such a way without asking or even realizing you had achieved such an incredible milestone in your journey. Any Witch should be proud of such an accomplishment. And believe me, I am incredibly proud, and honored, and humbled.

When I was younger, I always thought of Crones as women who had become wise enough through their learning and life experiences so they were people others turned to for wisdom and advice. I’m sure this is true, to an extent. But, in today’s society, it seems to be more of an attitude change. One where we begin to realize that we don’t really give a crap what others think of us. We live our lives more for ourselves.

I’m okay with the, too.

Peace, Love and Light

Mistress Catherine

Life’s A Pain; or, A Philosophical Discussion With Me, Myself and I

This one is probably going to be all over the place because my brain feels like a scrambled mess, lately. The stress I experience and the pain my body has to deal with on a daily basis is beyond staggering and borders on intolerable.

Let’s start out discussing ethics:

1)*a system of moral principles

2)*the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human action or a particular group, culture, etc

3)*moral principles of an individual

4)*that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness or wrongness of a certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions

The first one is pretty vague, isn’t it? A system of moral principles? Who’s principles? Where did these principles come from? Maybe they’re not my principles. The third one is pretty interesting. Individual morals? My morals stop me from punching you in the face when you say something stupid. That might not be the case with someone else. They’re individual. Thus individual morals. 

I like the fourth one. A branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct. Philosophy. That’s the concept of looking at things from different ways and debating them and talking about them and discussing them, yet never coming to a conclusion. Perspective (one of my favorite words). We’ve been philosophizing about morals since the dawn of time, and we probably will continue to do so until the end of time.

But, it’s the second one I really want to talk about, here. “rules of conduct RECOGNIZED in respect to a PARTICULAR class of human action or a PARTICULAR GROUP, CULTURE, ETC.” This is the definition more commonly referred to as religious morals.

Now, I have many friends and family members who are good, decent, understanding and respectful people who just happen to be Christian. (I try very hard not to hold that against them.) But, there are many people out there, beating their fist against the Bible, telling everyone they HAVE to follow their rules, and they HAVE to live according to Gods will, and telling certain people they don’t have the right to exist or be treated equally and inserting their people in the courts to try and erase MY existence.

I DON’T RECOGNIZE YOUR STUPID MORAL IGNORANCE OR RESPECT THE INSTITUTION FROM WHICH IT CAME.

Some of you are going to claim that America is a nation founded on Christianity. In my humble opinion, you would be incorrect. The United States is not now, nor has it ever been a Christian nation. **Jesus Christ and Christianity are not mentioned once in the U.S Constitution. This was most likely on purpose. Religious FREEDOM was very important both fundamentally and systemically to the men who fought for and founded our nation.

Our Founding Fathers saw how the **Christian leaders of Europe used Christianity to take advantage of the individual freedoms of the citizens.

Religious freedom is your right to believe whatever you want. Religious persecution is trying to shove those beliefs down other people throats.

I have no use for your religious belief system. Please keep it to yourself.

But, I digress. We were talking ethics, not religion. Oops.

Let’s talk about work ethic. I’m pretty sure this is why I lost my last job(and may cause me to lose my current one). You see, I believe that if you accept a job with a company, you should show up every day and perform your assigned duties to the best of your ability. I see people (mostly from the younger generations) who are constantly not doing their jobs. I see people standing around talking, leaving early and returning late from breaks, getting on their phones texting and such and several other things. 

At my last job, I saw severe and deliberate violations of safety codes. People would kick back at a desk with their feet up on it and play on their phone. They would buy lunch, punch back in, then eat said lunch at their desk, on the clock, while doing no work whatsoever.

I hear twenty somethings complain they don’t feel good. One day I was working down in the Keys, having to work while feeling like total shit. I had to prime a hull that day. It had to be done. I was in the middle of one side when I jumped down from the scaffolding, went over to the canal, and vomited into the canal. When I was done I rinsed out my mouth hopped back up onto the scaffolding and continued priming the boat. My boss was there talking to the owner of the marina and he asked me why I didn’t go home. I told him that the hull had to be primed today or it wouldn’t be ready for when the customer needed it. He went on and again told me I should go home and that I shouldn’t be working. My answer to him was simple; why?

I’m not saying people should go to work sick. Especially in a world filled with all this stupid Covid nonsense. What I am saying, however, is that if you go to work, don’t make excuses to not do your job. If you can’t do your job, you shouldn’t be there.

There is this person at my current job who moves about as slow as a snail. Says he has a bad knee. OK. That’s kind of legit. But let me see if I can figure this one out. I’ve got a bad knee. I’ve had it since I was six. Third-degree burn and pretty torn up and multiple stitches from a motorcycle accident, got staff infection in it that almost turned gangrene, and spent several weeks in the hospital and an entire summer recovering from it. When you get a bad knee, what do you do? Baby it’s so bad that you end up messing up the other knee. And your hips. And your lower back.

So, I’ve got two bad knees, a bad hip, a bad back, sciatica, Crohn’s disease, Hashimoto’s disease,(both of which are autoimmune diseases and suck all your life force out of you) I’m very prone to kidney stones and my left kidney has actually shut down twice and had me in the hospital, and, on top of all that, I’ve got two, that’s two, not one, types of cancer. (Don’t ask me what kind because I’m not saying) Does that mean I don’t have to work hard. Does that mean all I have to do is show up at work and I can get a paycheck. I don’t have to do anything, right?

I know there are some young people out there who have a good work ethic and a good moral compass. I know several of them. But, it’s hard to have faith in a generation that feels that they were born deserving something that they’ve never earned. Most especially, respect.

On another note, (hey, I told you this was gonna be all over the place) I’d like to talk to you about another subject that is very close to me, and means more than anybody could ever know; Suicide.

Back in early April, I actually sat on the edge of my bed with my gun in my hand, and seriously thought about ending it all for the first time in almost 35 years. Sat there with tears in my eyes, rolling off my face onto the floor. I couldn’t think of one reason not to. Then I thought of my kids and my grandkids and I knew I couldn’t do that to them. I cried for hours. We never know what will trigger us. Turns out I had a hormone imbalance that was easily corrected.

I was at an event once and one of the activities that was on the schedule was titled “Survivors of Suicide”. I thought to myself, what an interesting thing. It might be interesting to be in a room (or in this case a tent) full of people who had been on the brink of ending it all like I had. I thought it would be interesting to talk to some of these people and see what was going on in their heads, now. Now that they had failed.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that it wasn’t about people who had tried to commit suicide and failed, it was about family members and friends who lost somebody to suicide. I expressed that I felt that the title of the gathering was misleading and that I had thought it was about people who had tried to commit suicide. I was then informed, by a very loud and extremely rude woman, that I was not allowed to use the term “commit suicide”, because it implied that the person was committing a crime. I mean, they kind of are. Taking a life, even your own, still is a crime in this country, isn’t it? She argued with me for quite some time. But, I finally shut her up. My argument was something along the lines of the following:

Leave it to people like you. People who have never been on the brink of trying to end it all to tell those of us that have what we can and cannot say about it. Leave it to a pompous arrogant bitch like you to think you have the right to tell me what I can or can not call an affliction I once had. Trust me, anyone who is willing to go to the lengths of actually killing themselves is quite committed. They’re committed to end it at all. They’re committed to ending the suffering. They’re committed to making all the pain go away. So, until you put a gun to your head, hold the pills in your hand, put the razor to your wrist, have driven your car as fast as you could at a ravine, put a noose around your neck, walked up to the edge of a bridge or the roof of a tall building with the only intention of jumping off, stood on the edge of the train tracks, stood ready to step in front of a moving tractor trailer truck, or any of the many other ways to commit suicide, don’t you dare tell me what I can and cannot say about suicide. If you’ve never woken up in the morning and had to talk yourself out of killing you self, you should probably just shut the f#%k up. You’re like all these people who have lost somebody to drugs saying that it’s a disease. Every addict I’ve ever met will tell you it was a choice. And, they detest people calling it a disease.

After she got up and stormed out of the tent, we actually had quite a nice little meeting discussing things that may lead to someone attempting suicide. I think it was helpful to those who had lost somebody, and may even have given them a little bit of closure. You know, talking to someone who’s been there. I was also able to share my own experience with losing someone I cared deeply for to suicide. And, I think that may have made the others relax around me. 

So, I had to stop writing this three days ago and go to work. I can never get back to the writing groove I was in once I stop. I know I had something else to talk about, but can’t remember. Oh well. This blog is already longer than I like, anyway.

Peace, Love and Light, my friends.

Mistress Catherine

Bibliography

* Definitions from Dictionary.com

** Erin Kelly America Is Not A Christian Nation And Never Has Been (I admit to reading this article and it may have influenced some of my wording even though I felt this way before I read it. I don’t want to be accused of plagiarism)

The Power of Suggestion and the Mind’s Eye

Music can cause some pretty powerful memories. When you hear a song, the power of suggestion creeps into your mind and can bring you back to a certain place and time. I remember once hearing a song and I could see the old pizza place where we used to hang out. I could smell the pizza and hear the talk of people in the background as the song played on the jukebox. 

There are many songs that have similar effects on me. They remind me of vacations and places I’ve visited and people I’ve met along the way.

It’s the same with all our senses. We smell something and we are immediately transported back to a time and place in the past. We see something on a sign or something that somebody does it reminds us of something perhaps in our youth. The way something brushes up against us and the feeling we had when we were with somebody we were once close to.

Usually these sort of memories are pleasant ones and can bring a smile to our face. However, remember, that these things can also trigger some very bad memories as well. Maybe something happens that takes you back to a dark time in your life. This happened to me the other day at work. 

People are allowed to play music over loud speakers where I work. I’m not a fan of this because we are often forced to listen to music that we don’t care very much for. I don’t think anyone should have to listen to something that they don’t enjoy. On this particular event, a song came on the radio and I immediately got angry. It immediately brought me back to a time and place that I’d really rather forget. It’s true that we should not suppress our memories, but that doesn’t mean that we should be forced to relive them against our will.

My freshman year in high school was very difficult for me. Especially in the beginning of the year. My mind was everywhere and I was confused and depressed and I didn’t know how I was going to deal with everything. I remember going to the homecoming dance and just being really depressed that everybody was having such a good time and I could not. I remember getting home from the dance and not being able sleep.

The next morning when my parents went out to breakfast, I went into their room, took my stepdads revolver, put it to my head and pulled the trigger. It did not fire. I didn’t know it, but he always left the first chamber empty. I thought the gun was just empty in general and the ammunition was in the gun cabinet, so I just put it back and went about my business. If that first cylinder had a round in it, I would not be writing this blog because I would be dead.

I began formulating a plan to put myself out of my misery. I secreted away two small bottles of Bacardi 151. A couple weeks later I would sneak this with me to a football game, drink it’s entirety, (approximately 20 ounces) and proceed to let it slowly kill me. It took me a few weeks before I could do this because I ended up in the hospital with mono. Lucky for me one my medications was a very strong dose of codeine. That, mixed with the alcohol, should be more than enough to slip into the peaceful oblivion.

I actually succeeded this time. Well, almost. I was clinically dead for about five minutes. They brought me back from the other side and I remember all I could think was, “Why can’t I die?”

All these memories were triggered by a song. A song I asked the person to skip because I knew it was gonna get to me. A song that I had to argue with this person to skip because I knew it would get to me. A song that he refused to skip even though I asked him very politely to do so. This person continue to play that crappy 80’s Pop music that I didn’t like back in the 80’s, and I certainly don’t like now. It drove me into a depression that took me nearly 7 hours to overcome. I wonder, if I wasn’t at work, and I was alone, would I have been able to overcome this depression, or would I have succumbed to it like I did almost 40 years ago?

If someone asks you to turn some music off, do it. Don’t ask them why. There’s probably a very good reason. Maybe they just don’t like this song. Maybe it brings back some deep, dark, scary memories that they really don’t want to deal with. It’s always easy to just laugh off somebody else’s feelings. In a world over filled with political correctness, we really need to take a good look at some of the things that we do. I honestly do think that we’ve gone too far with politically correct crap, but it does have it’s merit in some instances.

I’m sitting here proofreading this and trying to figure out why I even decided to write this. Who knows. I guess I felt the urge to share this experience. Maybe if I could just bring awareness to one person, it’ll make someone’s life just that much easier.

September was suicide awareness month. (I always wondered if it occurred in September because it was when kids went back to school and had to face their bullies, again.) I wrote a blog last year that I posted to try to bring awareness and it got some decent reviews. I reposted it this year, and can you believe, people actually were encouraging me to kill myself. How on earth could you possibly think that it’s OK for another person to take their own life? What kind of person do you have to be to tell someone that just because they’re transgender they don’t matter?

The good news? Several people reached out to me to say thank you. They thanked me for the awareness. They thanked me for the numbers to the call lines. One person just told me they needed to know that someone else cared. I tried to reach out to this person but they never got back to me so very much hope that they are OK.

It takes literally no energy to just let people live their lives. You actually have to go out of your way to hate somebody and make their life miserable. Just some food for thought.

Mistress Catherine

https://www.paypal.me/CatherineBoudreau



Ch Ch Ch Changes

Changes are part of life. They happen every day. Well, I recently made some big ones.(Some not by choice.) And, I find myself once again back “home”.

I left the Athol/Orange area with my wife and three children in early September, 1990. Almost 30 years ago. I was in search of something better for my family. I wanted to give them a better life growing up than the one I had. I’m not sure I succeeded early on. I only hope I made up for it later on.

You see, my life didn’t exactly go as I had it planned. It never does. Does it? We landed in South Florida. Homestead/South Miami-Dade and my life was absolutely crushed shortly thereafter. (I’ve written about all that before. If you want to know about all that, go back read the older blogs.)

It took me a long time to recover from that. Once I did, life improved at least enough so I didn’t know I wasn’t happy.

After about 14 years, I met someone online. She drove me crazy, but I fell for her anyway. I weird trip through Missouri for 3 1/2 years, and a break up, and I find myself back where it all began. Sort of.

I left MA a married man(?) with three kids. I returned a single, middle-aged woman. I still have three kids (and six grandkids). I couldn’t be a more different person. Right? Let me tell you what it’s like to be back “home”.

I haven’t been dead-named or mis-gendered this much since I left Florida. (And, I had my life literally and legitimately threatened on more than one occasion in Missouri.) Why is it, the people who are supposed to love us and care the most, the ones that say they understand and support you, are the ones who seem to not even try to get your name and pronouns correct?

I had an incident with my car and it got stuck in the road. At least twenty people I’ve never so much as seen before kept stopping and asking if I needed help or to call someone. Total strangers. The cop that was there (after nearly an hour after the event) didn’t bat an eyelash at my female name.

I’m not a fan of most of the politics of the Commonwealth, but the people here are awesome. Friends made here are friends for life. They never forget the little things. You know? The things that matter. They forgive you all the bullshit because they know who you really are. They even forgive you the incredible lies you told back in high school to try and push people away so they couldn’t see behind the curtain.

I guess what I’m getting at is that I’m kind of happy to be home. Let’s see how long it lasts.

Thanks for reading, my friends.

Catherine Marie Boudreau

https://www.paypal.me/CatherineBoudreau

To Live or Die by the Pen

Life is funny. Isn’t it? Sometimes we can’t, or choose not to, say things we really should or need to. Throughout my life, when this has happened, I have always gone to the written word. I think I’ve had some luck, but, I guess, that is a matter of perspective. Isn’t it?

This blog is number 80. Eight Zero. I hardly believe it. And, it will be published exactly five years after the first one. 80 blogs in five years is a greater accomplishment than I ever imagined.

I’ve lost readers over the years. I guess it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. To be fair, there were some pretty bad ones. I tried some interesting fictional reality that fell short of expectations. But there were also quite a few with some pretty good information contained within.

I’ve written about experiences I’ve had since I came out a little over 5 years ago. Trials. Assholes. Experiences. Highs. Lows. Transgender. Witchcraft. Moving. Many different things and events. Even love, once or twice.

When I typed the title for this one, I had something entirely different planned. But, I guess, I’m being a bit of a chicken. You see faithful readers, I have been debating with myself for several months about whether or not to tell a particular individual I have developed what I consider to be quite a bit more than a crush on them. I guess I chickened out. Again.

When I see her, my heart smiles. When I see some of her post on Facebook, I want to hold her tight and protect her and fight all her demons for her. Why don’t I tell her, you ask? Because she’s a bit more than half my age and I don’t think I have a right to drop something like that on her. (Well fuck if I didn’t just narrow it down to about twelve people.)

I’ve really enjoyed writing this blog, for the most part, and I look forward to continuing to write this blog for, hopefully, many years to come. I need to get back to writing about transitioning. The thing is, this has all just become a new normal, for me, so that makes it a bit harder to come up with topics to write about. (If you have questions you’d like me to tackle in this blog, feel free to message me or leave a comment.)

Well, that’s all for now. I guess I’ll just keep on writing and live or die by the pen.

Peace,

Mistress Catherine

https://www.paypal.me/CatherineBoudreau

Suicide Note

I’m writing this one so you all know exactly how I feel. Life is very hard. It always has been. So, why would people do things to make it even harder?

It seems like I’ve always got this really bad and nauseous feeling in my chest and stomach, lately. I have this feeling of dread. Like something really bad is going to happen. I wake up every day depressed and struggle to get out of bed. I dread going on Facebook or any social media. I can’t handle being in public or around people at all. Every time I’m not reading, my mind thinks of all the terrible things going on in my life. So, I have to ask myself; is it worth it?

Is it?

Should I just end it all and stop the suffering?

For the first 18 years of my life, I did everything I could to make sure my life was a short one. I actually succeeded in dying twice. I remember being very disappointed in being returned to the living. (I should have 7 lives left. Maybe I should put a bullet in my head and test the theory.)

This is my current life:

I get up.

I go to work.

I go home.

I get up.

I go to work.

I go home.

I get up.

I go the work.

I go home.

The government is doing everything in their power to erase the existence of people like me.

So called “friends” post disturbingly transphobic things on Facebook.

People make promises to me they never or don’t intend to keep.

The first thing one of my siblings said to me when I told them I was transgender was, “At least your not gay.” Hello. I’m a woman attracted to women. That makes me a lesbian. I am gay.

One of my sons won’t let me see my grandkids. His father can see them any time. But, I can’t.

I only have one sibling that has never reverted back to my old name or gender.

My mother has rejected me because of my spiritual beliefs which haven’t changed in over 40 years. She can’t get past the word witch.

I can’t go anywhere or do anything because the person who promised me they would fix my car always has an excuse why he can’t. I’m going to miss the most important social event during the most spiritual time of the year in the Pagan community because I have no way to get there.

I have picked people up, brushed them off, and put them back on their feet more than their entire family combined, only to be called selfish and uncaring.

I have been sexually harassed.

I have been raped.

I look it the mirror and always see a man looking back at me.

I get misgendered at work at least 3-4 times a shift. Sometimes I feel it’s on purpose.

I’m tired all the time.

I’m financially stressed more than I ever have been in my life.

Trans union messed up my nearly perfect credit score after my legal name change.

Any one of these reasons is enough to push some people over their breaking point.

Now that I have your attention, let me make one thing perfectly clear right now. I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to end my life. I have way too much to live for. Even if the world has stacked the deck against me.

But, there are some mind-blowing stats out there:

Employers are given free rain to discriminate against transgender people.

41% of all transgender people will attempt suicide at least one in there lifetime.

78% of those will attempt it a second time.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death with all people aged 10-34. (That’s 3 different demographics; 10-14, 15-24, and 25-34)

If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out. There are a lot more people who care than you might realize.

https://www.nami.org/get-involved/awareness-events/suicide-prevention-awareness-month

Let’s do what we can to keep hope alive.

Love, Light and Harmony, my beautiful friends.

Peace, Mistress Catherine

https://www.paypal.me/CatherineBoudreau

Perceptions And Disenchantments

Once again I journeyed into the world of GGG (Gaia Goddess Gathering). This is an all inclusive women’s spiritual retreat. This year they celebrated Airmid. I was fortunate enough to be invited by one of the wonderful women who run the gathering every year and was informed that they would love to have me there and that they included everyone and the transgender community was, in fact, very welcome.

I was not able to attend the first year because of scheduling conflicts and when I bumped into these wonderful ladies again the following summer they once again invited me to come out to the event. So I obliged and attended and had an absolutely wonderful time. The event starts on Thursday and ends on Sunday. Over the course of the entire weekend I was miss-gendered a total of one time and the person who did it realized they did it and later sought me out to apologized and everything was fine.

As I said, I had a great time. I wandered around barefoot in the woods for the whole weekend exploring every inch of the 160 acres that I could get my bare feet on. People were very welcoming and understanding and I left the event just feeling totally euphoric and at peace.

I really love the environment here in the woods. (I’m writing this at my campsite Sunday afternoon.) I’ve been camping since I was about 4 1/2 months old, as my parents were park rangers, and spent most of my summers in state parks in Massachusetts until I was approximately 14. I had to ask myself why I stopped camping because I loved it so much.

This year, however things went totally sideways. I took a few extra days off so I could come early and stay late. I arrived here on Wednesday, which is a day early, and planned on staying until Monday, which is a day late. So, on Thursday afternoon I went down to the registration building to sign in for the event. I walked in and was greeted with, “may I help you sir?”

I know I cringed or at least shut my eyes at this. This was a women’s only event and I was immediately mis-gendered as a man. I was wearing a dress. I have a feminine haircut. I know I wasn’t wearing any make up or jewelry, but I feel I was adequately presenting in the feminine. To make matters worse nobody in the building seemed to notice what happened. No one present seemed to even acknowledge that anything was wrong. It was said as a matter of fact, just assuming I was a man and nothing was ever done to correct it even after I presented my ID, which lists me as female, and signed in to the event. This to me is worse than the person who says it, catches it and apologizes for their slip. Hey, we all slip. I get it. But, I feel that this was a different scenario all together.

So, I checked in and signed up for my community service, which we all have to do, and proceeded to head back up the hill toward my campsite. I decided that I would stop and get ice along the way and I pulled in stopping to get it and presented a $20 bill first thing. The woman said that she couldn’t make change for that so early and I was about to suggest to her just keeping the full $20 and keeping track of how much I spent and then just giving the change at the end of the weekend. I knew I’d need to get ice every day, so that wouldn’t have bothered me. At that time another woman spoke up and said she believed she could break the 20 so “you can give him change”. Again I cringed. I hadn’t been signed into the event for 10 minutes and I had already been miss gendered twice as much as I had the previous year.

I got back to my campsite and immediately went on Facebook to declare I will definitely not be back next year. I personally feel that I had every right to feel upset. And here’s what bothered me even more. Not one member of the leadership asked me how the situation could be corrected. Nobody asked me how we could avoid this happening next year. Nobody came to me to offer any form of apology. To be fair I don’t really need an apology. I hate apologies. But, I think in this instance one would’ve been appreciated. I had several people tell me I was wanted there and that leadership was upset with what was going on. However, like I said, nobody approached me about the situation. I felt like I was the object of many stairs and glares throughout the weekend and I was definitely made to feel like an outsider in many situations. I definitely feel, at this point, that I will, in fact, not be returning next year. I mean, why would I want to willingly subject myself to this sort of behavior?

I even had a conversation with someone who claimed to be supportive but continued to make excuses for the others behavior and explain to me why transgender women should not be allowed to compete in sporting events and the unfair advantages we had over cis-gender women in general.

Now, I did have some positive experiences. My friend Laurie was very happy to see me. We hung out a few times and talked and caught up because we haven’t seen each other in quite some time. And I really enjoyed spending that time with my friend. While she sat with a few other women who were crocheting, I sat and joked about how I have no talent for that sort of thing and met and talked and interacted with several other women who were more than happy to include me in the conversation.

The next night I met three wonderful women who I sat with, shared food and wine, and had a nice conversation. I was really beginning to think that things were going to take a turn for the better. I even spent some time the following morning, the last day of the festival, with one of them at her vendor stand just chatting with one another and enjoying each other’s company.

Another thing that I really enjoyed was my interaction with the children. The willingness of the girls to show me a great deal of respect while most of them called me Miss Catie, really made me happy. I really enjoyed their excitement and all the wonderful positive energy that was just emanating from them every time they passed by. I hope and dream that these wonderful young ladies will keep that positive attitude as they grow into the next phase of their lives. It’s so easy to become bitter. I truly hope this doesn’t happen to them, because I think they’re absolutely wonderful just the way they are.

Then, things started to go south, again. As everything was coming to a close and people were starting to pack up they all started talking about how they needed help breaking down and how I could volunteer next year and that I should join and become a member. And, all I could think of was how amazing it was that people wanted me to be a member and join something where I didn’t feel that I was entirely welcome. Don’t get me wrong. Many of the people who were talking to me and asking me to do these things were people that have always been friendly with me and excepting and made me feel welcome. But even after telling them that I felt like I wasn’t exactly welcome this year, they still wanted me to make commitments that I am not willing to make. Not as things currently stand. I mean, no one was willing to help me, but when they needed help, I was their best friend.

After leaving the pavilion, I was stopped by a young woman who could not have been 20 years old, who informed me that I need to obey the speed limit. That I need to watch out for wildlife. I need to be respectful of the land. We were visitors here and it was their home. I was, in fact, going under the posted speed limit. She had a very condescending attitude. You know what I mean? Polite on the surface, indignation in her tone and her stare? I wanted to just rip into her about the disrespect she just showed me. (Did I mention I grew up in State Parks? Did I mention how many times I’ve rescued wildlife because of inconsiderate assholes? Did I mention I’ve probably done more to preserve and protect the environment than she probably ever conceived to dream up in her self centered little mind?) I chose to take the high ground, however. I just said thank you and moved along.

I feel that some serious steps need to be taken if they want me to attend next year. And, let’s face it, what it’s going to come down to is this; do they, in fact, want me to attend next year? Do they, in fact, want me to be a member? Are they willing to put forth the energy to make people like myself feel welcome? Or, will they feel it’s just not worth it? Because, right now I don’t feel that is actually the case. I don’t feel that I am totally wanted by every member of this community.

Addendum:

I’m home, now. It’s Monday night. I didn’t publish this right away because I didn’t want to post angry. I’ve tried to step back and look at the weekend from a different perspective. Was I over reacting? Was I being unreasonable in my expectations? Was I blowing things out of proportion? I’m going to be honest. I still feel as though I have every right to be upset.

I have some pretty thick skin and it usually takes quite a bit to get me upset. I worry about the transgender women who may follow behind me some day who may end up down a dysphoric black hole because of something like this. I know of several other transgender people in the KC area and more than one of the women have expressed interest in attending GGG. I feel that an organization that proclaims to be all inclusive and specifically mentions gender identity on their website, should do more to make sure transgender women feel comfortable and accepted at their event.

I waited one week to publish this blog so I could be sure it would not be something I would regret doing. I look forward to hearing all your opinions.

Love, Light and Harmony.

Peace, Mistress Catherine