Sunday, December 27, 2015

And So This Is Christmas

Another Christmas has come and gone.

And I know this entry will affect some people.  Anger, outrage.  I'll lose more readers (which seems to be a trend of late anyway.)  I may even affect my career with this.  But this blog has been about one thing above all: Honesty.  If I can't be honest with myself here, then I can't anywhere.


Linda and I next to our Christmas tree

I hate Christmas.  Passionately.  With every fiber of my being.

Christmas began as a pagan holiday, and was forbidden in MANY places, including HERE in the US for many years.  The tree?  Pagan.  Yule log?  Pagan.  Almost everything about the holiday is PAGAN, but adopted by people in power centuries ago as a way to convert the pagans to Christianity (see: Easter.)

But is that why I hate it?  No.  I hate it because of People.

Tis the season to be assholes.

Here's some examples.

 On December 23, while I was carrying a very heavy box of books, an older woman on her phone blind sided me- full contact- and kept right on going. Sent me sprawling and I landed hard, wrenching my back. She didn't even stop. I was in agony the rest of my shift.

Maybe an hour later, a woman in the journal section wanted a very specific brand of eco-friendly journal that I'd never heard of. She said the the person at information said we had it. I offered to look it up as well, but told her I'd never heard of it. She proceeded to bitch me out, declaring that since I didn't know about this company, I obviously didn't give a "flying f**k about the environment"and so on. It got to the point where I was selecting targets as to where to hit her, so I turned and walked away. I took 5 minutes in the break room to pull myself back together.  I was so angry, I had reverted to "Lance mode."  

We sold out of "Merry Christmas" gift cards late on the 23rd. The next day, I was accused by two different fat old people of being part of the "liberal war on Christmas" since we didn't have them. Because obviously I personally planned it.

I made sure to wish them "Happy Holidays."

And this doesn't count the many times I was misgendered by customers and even by staff.  Including staff who had never met Lance.

These examples are just the worst of the worst, but by far, the customers were horrific.  Something about this season makes rich folks feral.

In the last two weeks of the Christmas rush, I had ONE day off, and that day I signed off to see Star Wars.  I normally get two days off a week, but was asked to come in for one of them for some overtime.  And, needing the money, I took it.  So I worked the toughest two weeks of the year straight through.  And remember, I did all this for poverty level wages.  I work retail, after all.

On the 23rd, we had torrential rains, which came flooding through our front window (AGAIN!).  So Linda and I did our best to sop it up with towels, and we both went out into the rain to try to clear a clogged drain spout above the window.  We were both soaked.  I called emergency maintenance.  The guy called back and was VERY condescending, even saying he couldn't do the work because it was raining.  As he told me this, I was dripping wet.

I tried to call Wife about getting a ladder, but my phone kept disconnecting.  I was in a fury.  I threw my phone as hard as I could against the wall.  Except I missed the wall.  And I hit Linda's birthday gift (an Enterprise bridge) smashing several pieces.  I then collapsed on the floor sobbing.

 And do you know what made it all worse?  What the cherry on top was?

I was out of wellbutrin.

I am on lexapro and wellbutrin for depression, and have been for over fifteen years.  Lately, I wondered if the depression was due to the gender dysphoria, and I intended to ask my doctor to see about lowering my doses.  But then I ran out of the one.  And the pharmacy wouldn't refill it without a prescription, which the doctor wasn't sending.

So yes, I was "off my meds" the whole time.

And what was the result of this perfect Holiday storm of Hell?

Christmas Eve, 2015, after work

I was a total mess.  I spent the week of Christmas trying to sort out plans for my death.  Who could I get to take my place in the apartment so Linda wouldn't be totally screwed?  How to leave behind a message so people understand why?  Should I even bother with that?  Method?  Had that sorted out.

And each time someone was insanely cruel, it was another nail in the coffin so to speak- another piece of proof that I no longer belonged in this world of Hate.  I would finish a shift, go to my car and bawl my eyes out.  And cry on the way home.  I'd get back to the apartment and go right back to the bedroom and cry some more.

Wife and I had been trying to sort out a time when I could come over to see Daughter on Christmas.  However, her idea of times and mine weren't meshing.  On the 24th I sent her a text during my break at work.  "Don't expect me for Christmas at all.  It isn't worth the horseshit.  Tell your mom she f**king won and you won't have to worry about the freak coming over."  I left gifts for her and Daughter outside the front door, out of the rain.  No one saw me, as they were having a party to which I was not invited.

As I saw it, the war was over.  I lost.  Just a matter of cleaning up the mess.  The Darkness had me.

I arrived back at the apartment, sat in my car, and sobbed.  The night was warm, humid, and misty.  I went to the bedroom, changed and cried again.  I received a text from a GG friend and coworker, Katie.  She wanted to get together.  I said no.  She insisted.  I said hell no (and took the picture above) insisting I would not be good company.  She said she'd bring wine.  I still didn't want any company, but asked Linda anyway.  She was up for it, so Katie came over.  We watched "Christmas Carol" with Patrick Stewart.  I drank a little.  My mood lightened a bit.  I decided I would not die that night.  I could wait until morning.

Christmas morning I slept in.  I received a text from Wife asking if I could be over there at 9:30.  I agreed.  And so I went over, only partially made up.  I was greeted by my dog, who I rarely see.

My old Puppy Nittany

I watched Daughter open the gifts I'd left, which were all books.  One of them was I am Jazz by Jazz Jennings.  I'd bet that this book, which I bought to help Daughter understand me, has already been removed from the house.

Wife gave me a Star Trek Christmas Ornament and some Omaha Steaks.  I went back to the apartment and finished my makeup.  Linda and I were due in southern Delaware for dinner with my parents.  The activity kept me preoccupied.

At my Parents.  Christmas Day 2015

The day was peaceful, and I began to feel better about life.  I was still exhausted, but I was on the first of three straight days off.  (As I write this, it is the third day off.)

We arrived home late, and we both went right to sleep.  I slept in the next day.  Again.  I needed it.  During the day, I went to the pharmacy to get my prescription for wellbutrin.  Wife had called the doctor AND the pharmacy on the 24th, and paid off an outstanding bill for me.

That night, Linda and I had dinner  my "Big Sister" Mel.  She made an amazing Eggplant Parmesan.

And now it's Sunday.  I slept in.  I spent a good amount of the day with Wife and Daughter (my eight year old, who said I was as "fat as Santa".)   I'm still a little moody, but better rested.  I needed the time off.  Tomorrow, it's back to work.

Work.  Despite doing some wonderful things this season, I'm not likely to ever see a positive result for it, or be promoted.  You see, in the end- I broke in the face of adversity.  I showed that I have limits, and to be promoted, and I can't have those.  So if I ever want to earn a living wage, what do I do?

This is actually the second attempt at this blog entry.  The first was an expletive laden tirade against Christmas and the world in general.  I concluded it by saying that I hope that I don't live to see another Christmas season.  In fact, I wrote that if it looked like I WOULD survive to next Christmas season then I'd sort it out myself.

Did I mention I hate Christmas?

Many people, especially cisgender people, say how much they admire my strength and bravery for transitioning.  I'm a fraud.  I am not Strong.  Is it strength to do what one must?  If I didn't transition, I would've followed Lisa into the Light long ago.  If I were so strong, I would've found a way to be more the front lines of the Fight for TG rights, instead of just quietly writing a blog.  If I were strong, I would've found a way to keep my family together despite my transition.

Part of transitioning is understanding Who you Are.  I've written that many times.  It's so true.  And I know who I am.  I look in the mirror now, and I see the Woman I was supposed to be.  Sort of.  But that doesn't mean I am happy with what I see.  After all, I can't even afford a f**cking name change- how am I ever going to ever afford GCS?  I will Never complete my transition, never mind all the other goals I set for myself.  And what about my loved ones?  How will I ever be able to help Ally and Linda afford their transitions if I can't even complete my own?

Picture taken today.  Dress by Omar the Tent Maker

Strong? Brave?  I'm useless.  Useless to the ones I love, and to myself.  That's what I see in the mirror every day.

2016 is coming within a week.  I will be fifty years old next year.  Most of my life will be behind me, and what am I?  What have I accomplished with my life?  As a paramedic, I saved lives.  But that was thirty years ago.  I stopped doing that because I broke.  My teaching career was short.  Why?  Me.  My depression and Pain.  I couldn't save my Best Friend from killing herself.  I am trained to see the signs, but she was smarter than me.  And now she's dead.

It seems I have two accomplishments to leave behind.  I have a Daughter who will, God willing, long outlive me.  And I have my writing.  For what its worth.

I hate Christmas because of People.  I hate life because of Myself.

So that's where I am tonight, December 27, 2015.  I am standing in yet another crossroads in a lifetime of crossroads.

Strong? Brave?  I wish I knew the person those people talk about.  I could sure use her help.

Be Well.


  1. Sophie -

    Brave? No - You are going down the ONLY path available to you, and it's scary! If you were brave, it would be a choice. But you do have one choice - and that is to carry on, if only for your daughter's sake.

    Now, I once discussed an idea I had for a book. Someone who is extremely depressed looks to define a set of objective conditions for which death would be an acceptable conclusion. One of those things was that the leading character had to have no responsibilities to others - meaning, the children must be grown up. I started listing more things, and I realized two things. The leading character in my story had to live until carrying on his/her life made no sense to him/herself and to others. (I recognized that a terminal illness and its pain could be a rational reason to let go of life - having lost a spouse to cancer.) The second thing was - that if one wants to let go of life, it had better be for rational reasons instead of short term feelings.

    Why do I bring up this kind of thought? Well, life, to me, is not the be-all and end all. I have accomplished what I wanted to do in childhood, and no passion stirs within me. Yet, I find new reasons to live each day. In the future, I know that I will use my objective criteria as a way to both stay alive and to find meaning in what life I have left. Does it mean that I want to live forever? No. But it helped me identify what I want out of what's left in my life, and gave me a great story to tell - when I get around to writing it..... (Assuming I'm lucky to do so.)

    If I were there with you in person, I'd give you a hug and tell you that you can contact me anytime (supplying the phone number in private). I'd remind you that you promised to live when your close friend chose to die - and make sure that you keep that promise to yourself and the rest of us....


  2. Love you. You have a kind heart and a beautiful soul. I know it's hard for you, but try to remember how you got where you are. Try to remember that there ARE people who love you and accept you. YOU HAVE WORTH in this world.
    Retail sucks and so does the horrible MIL. Forget her. She didn't like you before so her opinion is just plain nonsense. Take another look in that mirror. Look into your own eyes and see your worth!

  3. It is not so simple to ever state that anyone is strong or weak. We are always both things. That beautiful, smiling picture at the top is not false. It is just only a small truth. This does not make you a fraud. Life is so complicated and difficult. At times, a million things converge to make a person want to give up. I barely know you, but I feel your pain and admire your honesty about it. I don't know what else to say except that Christmas is over and I hope you can feel some healing in this week after, with some much needed rest. And by the way, Omar the Tentmaker could never make such a pretty dress.

  4. Sophie -

    I forgot.... Our local GLBT center has lawyers who do pro bono work helping TGs get name changes. You might want to ask around the community and see if this service is available in your area.


    1. The Mazzoni Center does it if you live in Philadelphia. I live in Chester County, outside the city, so...

  5. I know I can never know what it is like to be you! I will probably never understand.what I do know is not knowing who I am. I am still trying to figure that out. You have one up on me girl. I have been in therapy for a few years now and that helps. Finding "myself"..who I really am and learning to love her has been a painful road. I have had many a christmas where I put on a good face and smiled while inside I wanted to crawl in a ball and cry. I tried spending time with friends ..people who really knew me...didnt help.I put on the face everyday that I thought others wanted to see. Alcohol, partying, and food were easy.. stoping to look at myself in those quiet moments. .devastating
    All I can say to you.. as I am finding my happiness (and I realize you may roll your eyes bc I dont face what you do)if you cant love yourself..take each day new. Remember your daughter who you want to see grow up happy..she will get an age where she can choose to drive to wont be up to those people!!!! Screw them..stay here on earth...the waiting and day to day sucks..
    There are people that love u!! You Sophie!..not Lance... even if you cant like you have purpose..not courage..

    Thanks for your honesty! Remember you have a friend in bmore anytime!

  6. I wish I had a magical solution. I don't. All I can do is say, "Hang in there. The world doesn't deserve to lose you and there are lots of people who are given hope because of your sharing the ups and downs of your life and the trials you have gone through." Wishing you the best.

  7. Hi Sophie,
    I have felt, and still feel much of your pain. I Transitioned 8 years ago to full time. I finally got my name change done 3 years ago and then I had to do it myself including filing the paperwork for being destitute so the filing fee was waved. I was outed at work and fired as Director of Accounts Receivable. I was unemployed for two years and burned through my fairly large 401k in a fruitless attempt to save the house at the same time making $1000 child support payments. I spent three straight years below the poverty line. I finally got a job 3 years ago in IT making the same amount as I made 25 years ago. I got my MBA to make myself more marketable. I was wrong. I have done everything right and yet 8 years later I'm still preop. I watch newbies come and get their surgeries and disappear. I have been suicidal many times and survived two attempts. Every day is a struggle but you are not alone and I am not alone either. If you ever want to talk I'm one that was been there. I lost it all. But i'm getting it all back. Hugs sweetie

  8. Hey, Sophie...sorry, I only just saw this. I've been on a news and social media cleanse the last few months, and I'm doing considerably better without all the negativity in my life. Unfortunately, it sounds like you haven't been as lucky...dealing with Christmas shoppers while working retail must be like being on the front lines in a war of avarice and self-absorption. And I'm sure your MIL's sour attitude doesn't help any.

    Depression is so unbelievably's like a constant pull downwards and all you can do is fight it. It's exhausting, especially when you're surrounded by negative people who cruelly and callously give voice to the dark little lies we believe about ourselves. Pity them. If the only way they can feel better about themselves is to kick another person down, their souls are lost in a way we will never understand.

    You have friends and people that care about you, please remember that. You have allies. You are not in this alone. And try to go easy on sounds like you're still trying to take on the world and fight the good fight, but sometimes you have to take care of yourself first. It'll all still be here once you have a chance to catch your breath!