Saturday, January 22, 2022
Monday, January 17, 2022
Helen Kandler died on January 13, 2022 at 8:35 am. (Today as I type this bit.) She was 82, and had suffered with Alzheimer's/ dementia. She was my mother.
Mum was born in Ayr, Scotland in October 1939. She once told me that one her earliest memories was her mother hiding with her under a desk as the Germans bombed the munitions plant nearby. She never liked sirens or loud noises her whole life. Mum was the middle child of three, and she also had a half-brother. Her father was Irish, and her mum was Scottish- Clan Macintosh, of which she was very proud, and passed that pride to me. Of her family, only her older brother survives her.
Mum in Scotland, 1972
She met my father some time in the early 60s while dad was stationed in Germany. They married in January 1964, and were married for almost 58 years. As a gift to dad for their 25th wedding anniversary, mum became a citizen of the US. I helped her study the voluminous amount that she needed to master to pass a citizenship test. (A test I think few in the GQP could pass.) She last saw her native soil in 1972, when she brought my brother and I over to meet our grandparents.
Mum is survived by my dad, my brother and his wife, me and my Wife, and 2 grandchildren.
All of those are the facts. And the fact is I said my goodbye to her a couple of months ago while she was still cognizant.
Right now, I feel numb. I should feel more- after all, she was my mother. She accepted me as Sophie.
When I dressed as a teen, there was only one thing of mums that I would wear- a gold necklace with a heart charm, inside of which is a picture of grandmum and a tiny seed: thistle from Scotland. I wore it often. When I stopped dressing in 1983, was the last time I wore it.
My father told me to help myself to her jewelry. Mum wore a lot of costume jewelry, but she had some real stuff as well. She favored opals, rubies, and diamonds. I immediately decided that I must only take half of the good stuff, as it wouldn’t be fair to my brother’s wife (or their daughter) for me to take it all. It’s strange, I felt almost guided to check little containers away from the jewel boxes- tiny boxes and decorative jars (mum had a LOT of them), and that’s where I found her diamond rings- all gifts from my dad.
While I was looking, dad entered the room, and I asked him if her could identify her engagement ring. He quickly pointed one out- and I kept it. Someday, I will give it to my daughter for her wedding (assuming I’m around.) Then again, all of what I took will someday be hers.
I thought I’d finished, when I felt the urge to check under one of the mahogany jewel boxes (gifts from her father). There I found two bags, one a pink silk bag and the other blue and velvet like. In the pink one, I found a string of tiny pearls. In the blue one was the gold heart locket. I kept both. I left half of the valuable items for my brother's wife, as it wouldn't be fair if I took them all. After all, they have a daughter as well, and she deserves some of her grandmother's legacy.
Believe what you will, but I think mum wanted me to find these items and keep them. That's not all. Earlier in the day, my dad and older brother were both outside, leaving me alone in the house. I decided to speak to her, and told her that I'd try to make her proud. I then went into a room that used to be where her massage business was conducted, now empty. The room smelled like her. She hadn't been in it since at least July, but it smelled like her. I felt she was there. A few other times during the day, I felt her presence as well. Dad's dog also saw her. He'd look at parts of a room where no one was standing and wag his tail. She was there- I know it.
The day ended with a grueling five hour drive back to State College. During that time, mum was cremated. I was tired, and my back hurt.
Now her pain is over. My dad is alone in the house he shared with her. I'm back in State College while the snow falls outside. I have homework I should be doing. The world continues going as it will after I'm gone as well. I've received many kind messages over the past days from friends and well wishers, and I appreciate them all.
I'm relieved in a way. I'd waited for months for the phone call I received Thursday, and now it's done. Mum was stubborn to the end, and, in the end, she died alone, as no one was in the room. That was her way when I think about it- she didn't want a big fuss.
Dad will get her ashes tomorrow. They will be divided in two boxes: 2/3 and 1/3. I will take the 1/3 and send it over to my cousin in Scotland. There, my Uncle will scatter them on the same ground with her parents and sister. At least part of her will be home.
Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Sunday, December 26, 2021
So Christmas is over, thank God. This tale begins on my last day of work at the LGBT Center for the semester. As a thank you for volunteering to speak to classes, they gave me a $20 Starbucks gift card. I don't drink coffee. All of us working there got a small bag full of stickers and glitter pens and such. A couple of days ago, my friend Aimee gave me a Christmas ball she knitted, which promptly went on the tree.
I've had insomnia the past few nights (what else is new?) This morning, I woke up around 7, coughing my head off from this cold I can't kick. It isn't Covid- I was checked. I had a bowl of cereal, and went back to bed, having had only four hours of sleep. Besides, Linda wasn't up yet, so...
I crawled out of bed again around 11:30. Plopped on the couch until Linda was ready to open her gifts. I bought her a book. Linda's sister generously sent me a bag of small things, and my dear friend Jenny North sent me a DVD, an ornament, as well as a Disney + subscription. She's far too kind. In any case, that was my Christmas.
Linda and I played a couple of games during the day. I made dinner: ham and mashed potatoes. We watched a movie.
11:30 and I still wasn't tired. I took melatonin, but knew from experience that it would take time to hit. (it's 1:06 as I type this and I'm still wide awake). I decided to take a drive downtown, so Linda wouldn't have to listen to me cry.
And cry I did. For the past few Christmases, all I've asked for from Wife for Xmas was for her and Daughter to come visit me for the day. Hasn't happened. Still. I barely spoke to either of them, as while they returned one call briefly (as they were going to Wawa), the second call wasn't returned. Guess they had better things to do. I texted with Daughter a bit though.
Christmas Tree, College and Allen
I'm tired of the fact that they are Top Priority for me while I'm merely and inconvenience or obligation to them. It's tearing me apart. So, I cried like the weak little useless child that I am. (Got a bloody nose out of nowhere as well.)
I arrived at the main intersection in State College: Allen St and College Ave. That's where the "gateway to the University" stands, as well as the Christmas tree. I took pictures. Downtown was empty. No one on the roads, and maybe three people walking. I walked half a block to take more pictures, and as I walked back to my car, I heard music coming from Zeno's, a basement bar I frequented back in the day. It was open! So I walked down the stairs, and had a beer.
Alone at Zeno's
There were a few Asian women at the bar wearing very short dresses as well as maybe six other people, plus staff. I sat at a small round table, and quietly drank the beer. Around 12:05, they started kicking people out. I finished my beer, and walked over to the bar to pay my tab. It was free- the bartender wrote "Merry Christmas" on the charge slip. I had no cash to tip him.
I left him the Starbucks gift card, and went back to my car.
I hate Christmas, almost as much as I hate my life.
Stopped to see an old friend on the way home.
Thursday, December 16, 2021
Friday, December 10, 2021
I can't think of anything more personal than dreams. Nothing- not fears, intimate encounters, secrets, is more personal. When one reveals their dreams, they reveal their soul. Dreams are the ultimate secret.
For so many transgender people, living their Truth, or surgeries are their deepest dream and darkest secret; a secret that many take to the grave. How many transgender women needed someone to "scrub" their homes of any feminine clothing or things before family found out post-mortem? How many pass never living that dream for even a moment?
A week ago
Some say I'm living the dream, as I am full time as myself. I usually reply that, no, I'm living a nightmare. But has living my Truth been my biggest dream? My fondest wish?
My biggest dream, beyond any other was to grow old with my Wife. Once I decided "yes, she's the one" that has been the goal. Even before that- the idea of growing old with my life partner- if I could do that, then everything else would be at least ok. I remember thinking on my wedding day, as I looked into Wife's eyes... this is it. This is the rest of my life.
Well, I screwed that up over 8 1/2 years ago, didn't I?
Lately I've wondered if I should detransition- if we could be a family again. But I already know the answer to that: we can't. Wife doesn't want to. So even if I wanted to detransition (I don't), it wouldn't matter, I'll still be alone. I'll die alone. I already know this- always have. I just dreamed of living out my days with my Wife. That isn't going to happen no matter what.
So when someone tells you their dreams- listen. They're revealing who they really are.
But be careful! Dreams, like Hope, lie.
Sunday, November 28, 2021
Sunday, October 31, 2021
Saturday, October 30, 2021
Ask my wife. Who destroyed our marriage? Me. Who couldn't find a good enough job so we could move out of her mom's place? Me.
Ask my parents. If something happened in that house, it was my fault. Period. Never my brother's- mine. After all- he said so, right? I was the root of everything wrong and evil.
Ask anyone who I've failed, which is pretty much everyone I know. If I haven't failed you yet, give it time, I guarantee I will. Ask any of my teachers or employers. Li Longo didn't get past the primary because I sucked as a campaign manager. When BN or GW didn't hit a target, it was because I fucked up.
I fucked up so much at GW that they moved me out of sales and put me under someone who did his best to make me quit.
I never do anything fucking right, so why do I fucking bother even trying.
I'm fifty fucking five years old. I'll be near sixty IF I finish this program. No one will hire me. So why am I bothering? Transwomen are dying out there, and here I am learning adult learning theory. Theories don't stop bullets.
I used to think transpeople may just survive the 45 junta. We did- barely. The GOP kills far too efficiently. Ask the Latinos in the camps... or their children who have been sold off, oh I'm sorry- "disappeared."
Friday, October 8, 2021
I've always taken a writing book everywhere I go, but lately I've started writing in it while in class, as we're supposed to keep a journal to reflect on readings and discussions. The following was written yesterday, and has the class related stuff removed- but that's the only editing I've done, aside for clarity and removing names.. Raw Sophie thoughts as they happened. Not that anyone is reading. Last month, I had 747 hits. I used to do over a thousand a day. Is it that no one is reading blogs anymore, or that I've scared everyone off. Or bored them.
Sweaty as fuck, as it's so humid. Drug dr. says Cymbalta may be the cause. I'm very sick of it. I sweated through a dress this morning, so I'm on my second dress of the day.
Mum is still alive. I spoke to her the other day, and could barely understand her. I thought of going down [to see her] on Sunday for her birthday, but decided not to, as I don't want to see her like this- not again. Spoke to Wife and daughter about it today as well.
Drug dr. asked me if I'd felt suicidal lately. I answered yes, but didn't say when: this morning. I woke up at 6 am and thought that today the world would be better off w/o me. Everyone would forget me very quickly. I got out of bed and pushed myself to the shower that I desperately needed. I hadn't showered in days. And I needed a shave. I just didn't- too lazy. I didn't care. I still don't, but as I have class today, I wanted to present well, not offend people with my stench, and in a desperate attempt to feel feminine. I'm convinced that unless I get bottom surgery I'll never feel feminine or complete. As I'll never afford it, I'll never feel complete. I lost all hope of that long ago. Hope lies. I've known that for years. Just keep moving forward, step by step. I would rage against the dying of the light if the light hadn't died long ago. After all, I'm a mistake that was broken again and again- loss after loss, defeat after defeat, more regular than a heartbeat. I was born as a warning to others- that life can make mistakes. If I were so fucking smart, then why do I lose so goddamn always?...
True Colors Photoshoot, 2010.
…Just thinking- even if I had bottom surgery, what would really change? It's not like I'd ever use the parts, even if I wanted to. I'm too fat and ugly and old for anyone to ever want me. What kind of lover would I be as a woman? Yes, I have big tits, but that isn't everything. What kind of wife would I be? Would I wear the white dress, etc? Could I? Me as a bride, outside of a photoshoot. Never a consideration. That pre-supposes losing Wife, meeting someone else, and caring enough about them to spend the rest of my life with them. I can't see that happening. I can't see wanting it to happen. I'm already married, and will remain so until Wife jettisons me. Would I even survive that? I doubt that very much. Just being separated makes me crave death every day. All those years ago, the marriage councilor said I'm "Needy, clingy, and possessive." Spot on. I forget which therapist said that's because I crave the love I didn't get as a child, or the acceptance I never found. Am I capable of receiving love anymore? Was I ever, really? I know love has ALWAYS meant pain to me- every fucking time.
In other news, a couple of weeks ago, I attended a tailgate. I wrote about that HERE. I came away with a mild case of sun poisoning that knocked me down for a week. It's now at the peeling stage. I should make an appointment with the dermatologist, but no money means no medicine.
School is brutal, but at this level it's supposed to be. The academic term for it is "rigor," which is defined as "hard as fuck." One of my classes is Sociology of Gender, and I really enjoy that class. I've learned a lot from looking at the issues from a different lens, so to speak.
It's October in Happy Valley. Still summer out there, despite the leaves changing. The world is changing too. What kind of planet will my generation leave behind? A cinder?
In any case, that's all I have today. I wanted to post something for what readers I have left. To those who have hung on, thank you. Seriously. You help.