Not A Life Choice – New Beginnings?

phoenix

I have been in counseling off and on for decades. One thing my counselors noted and try to reinforce in me when I get to low points is how many times I have risen higher than I was before, after being beaten down. I try to cling to that when I am going through down periods. I am really struggling lately. A month before my surgery, Cindy advised that she had been thinking about separation for a year. Like I needed that additional stress before surgery, but it was in response to my mentioning that we should move the rock wall back to allow for more parking in the front. She advised me at that time that she was planning on shutting it all down. I have mixed feelings about it. While I will be happy not to shovel shite twice a day, as well as the back issues especially during herd health or shearing as I usually wrangle the alpacas. I have ended up on my butt more than once. I also always felt like I couldn’t go far from home as I had a responsibility to ensure the alpacas had a clean environment. Still, shoveling shite in all kinds of weather was never fun. What I will miss is my connection to the alpacas. I assisted in the birth of Honeybun who was our first born on the farm. She has really grown into a beautiful young lady. I really am attached to Gibbs and Kate, though after naming Kate, Cindy decided to change it to Katarina. I still call her Kate and she comes up to me and nuzzles me when I am out there cleaning. I will miss the alpacas that is for sure.

I will be going down to Fall River tomorrow to check out an apartment complex. I have mixed feelings. I was born in Fall River and raised in Tiverton, Rhode Island. I still have family in Fall River and most of my siblings still live in Tiverton. Fall River is a small city and an old mill town. I still know my way around but miss some of the usual haunts I liked. China Royal or as we knew it China Dinah, is long gone. I will have to find a good place to get my Chow Mein Sandwiches.

chowmeinsandwich

I haven’t lived in Fall River since before Cindy and I married. I moved to her home in North Attleboro just before we got married. I used to live in the North End by Airport Road. It was a decent area. I could walk over to Shaws to do my shopping. There was also a little Chinese restaurant in the plaza. Of course, I had the pizza shop right next door. I might end up back in that area, but the place I am looking is in the Highlands. I can still walk to the little plaza with a McDonalds and Newport Creamery. There is a liquor outlet there but it appears it changed hands and is no longer Liquor Warehouse. They had great prices, so I will have to check in. There is also an Ace Hardware so I can get things to fix things up. There is a CVS there also, so my prescription will get moved there if I end up getting the place I look at tomorrow. I also saw that Market Basket is there at what used to be the Harbour Mall but is now Southcoast Marketplace, I think the name is. I think the theater is still there but updated and some decent restaurants. I did drive by the Chinese buffet place I used to take my kids and it is still there. I may have a bit to drive for other places. I see Dartmouth Mall has a Bed, Bath, and Beyond, so a quick trip out there after I move. I can just order everything in these days though. I could hit Gumbos if I go out to North Dartmouth. I used to take the kids there too.

EmotionalLifeofyourBrain

I have been married for a long time. I like being married, but Cindy and I really have diverged over the years. It’s not a bad thing, just the way things happen. We really used to love going out to eat together and traveling. I will always love the adventures we have experienced. We started with our honeymoon and a trip to Bermuda. It wasn’t the best as we went in between hurricanes so the swells were horrendous. The deck would come out from under your feet. Cindy really took ill. We hit Bermuda and the dock works. taxis and buses were on strike. I managed to get us a scooter to tool over to Hamilton. We did get to Crystal Caves, and a few other spots. We also got out to New Mexico and visited Chaco Canyon and Alberquerque after staying at the Nora Dixon B&B. We circled around the area going out to Gallop up around Los Alamos and then back down to the hot springs in Jimenez. We followed up that journey with one out to Sedona and a return trip the following year. We spent our tenth year anniversary on a tour of the four corners. We started in Las Vegas and then went out to Mesa Verde,  through the Ute Nation and over to Lake Powell and then on to Utah, Bryce Canyon. We then returned back to Vegas for our last night of that trip. It was amazing.

We shared a lot, but both of us have changed a lot. We are getting to the point where we have more differences than likes. Like me liking hot and spicy while she is happy with more mundane foods. I also love my Chinese food, but she isn’t as much a fan.

So, I am not so keen on living alone again, but then again, the book above notes that we can reprogram our brains. I have been working towards that by reminding myself that I will be able to just stop at a restaurant if it piques my interest. No more worries about having to get home and shovel poop and taking care of the alpacas. My back will like that. If I am in the mood for Chinese, I can have it. If I want to go back to Sedona, take some time from work and schedule a flight. Though I probably won’t do that one. I am not adverse to flying alone, I did that for many years working for Georgia Pacific. I supported half the country from Waxahachie, Texas to the East Coast. Maybe I can plan a trip to Memphis and finally see Graceland and Beal Street. I went there many times for GP, but after long days pulling cable and rewiring the plants, I would be sweaty and tired and just wanted dinner and bed.

I may use the time alone to reprogram myself too. I used to have a voracious appetite for books. I have a large stack of books to catch up on.

I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know where I will end up. I agreed to stay on until the end of the year. That is just a few weeks away now. I feel the anxiety build at times, but just keep talking to myself to get through it. Reprogram the brain. That is tough.  I have survived. I keep rising and reinventing myself.

overcome

My Cherokee friends used to tell me Stiyu, be strong. I will just keep going forward.

My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.

Emma

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Not A Life Choice – Day by Day

seeds

Sometimes you just have to plant seeds and see what comes up. I haven’t written in a bit. Part of that is due to smashing my finger tossing a bale of hay in the feeder. My finger got caught in the string and slammed against the metal frame, snapping the end off my fingernail and putting a long crack down the nail diagonally. It doesn’t hurt so much anymore but sure makes typing hard with one finger all wrapped up.

Situation has not changed much. Originally, I was looking to moving to Plymouth, but that fell through as I couldn’t get a loan. They say that loans on places like mobile home parks are chattel loans and not too many carry them. I also need a separation agreement before they would process it. They also said no thirty year just a twenty, so higher mortgage payment on top of the $550 HOA fee. So looks like I will change directions and move back to Fall River. It has been a long time since I lived there. I was born there at St. Annes Hospital. I lived my first few years in Fall River before moving to Tiverton in Rhode Island. I am hoping that I will be able to find a good chow mein sandwich like I used to get. A lot has changed in Fall River, so we will see.

chowmeinsandwich

I did go down to what used to be the Harbour Mall to check out their Market Basket. I even had lunch at the 110 Grill. I kind of like Market Basket. The one in Fall River is almost exactly the same as the one in Plymouth I was going to. I am trying to set up an appointment to go look at an apartment. At this time, we are still looking towards the end of the year, but still no separation agreement.

I reached out to Fall River Pride to introduce myself and if I do move back, maybe get involved with them. It seems like they are just starting up, though, I would think there is a large LGBT community there, just no cohesion as yet. Moving back to Fall River would put me closer to my family and especially, my mother.

So I am planting seeds.  I hope some new friendships grow from them. In the meantime, I will keep plugging along. It is the only thing I can do. I still dance with the darkness, but I have too much invested in me to take my life. I just have to keep sloshing through the muck and mire until I can find my way through and maybe someday laugh again.

My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.

Emma

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Not A Life Choice – Paddling Alone

canoealone

No this is not me, I have a kayak. I just saw this and it reminded me of my current situation. Sometimes it feels like I am just paddling along alone. At times, it can be peaceful, but other times the loneliness can get to you. It will be interesting to see how I make out being alone again. That is if I ever get to that point.

To recap, a month before my surgery in May, Cindy advised that we will be ending our marriage. She said that she believed it was time for me to go off on my own and spread my wings. She said that I should have the opportunity to explore a new relationship, if I choose, and maybe even be with a man. I was told by a psychologist years ago that she thought I was bisexual, but mostly lean towards women because of who I was at the time. I really don’t know, as I have never been with a man and only a few have interested me. I used to joke that I loved X-Files because I had a thing for both Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny. Of course, who couldn’t think about Sam Elliot, that voice and looks. Be that as it may, there are not too many men I am drawn to. In reality, I don’t plan on being with anyone. I will spend the rest of my days alone. As I told Cindy, three strikes, and I am out.

I find it interesting that despite my assertions, I still continue with my dilations. I could just quit and let it close up, or could have gone for zero depth surgery in the first place and not have to deal with dilations. Oh right, Cindy prefers I call it PT. I am about to the point of having to do it just once a day. I think by December it will drop to once every few days. We will see.

To return to the canoe metaphor, sometimes it just feels like I am paddling upstream. I struggle at times. I am still at home with Cindy and she asked that I stay on until the end of the year. I will cook one more Thanksgiving and one more Christmas here. My heart is not in it as I just feel like I am in limbo. I continue to have to shovel alpaca poop twice a day, and toss bales of hay and lug water. I still have a full time job on top of it. We have had a lot of rain of late and that has made the poop heavier to deal with so just makes me grumpier. I had tried to get a mobile home in a trailer park but because my name is still on the deed and mortgage on the house they wouldn’t give me a loan. I still don’t have a separation agreement either. That means I am still on the hook for bills here and the mortgage. Because of this, I sometimes feel a financial prisoner. We will see what the end of the year brings.

I originally was looking at moving towards Plymouth. I have some people I know down there and was hoping to move us from just seeing each other in passing to becoming friends.  Of course, to me, being a friend is someone you want to share things with, to spend time with, to do things with.  I haven’t had that in a long time. I thought I had that with Cindy, but I guess all good things have to come to an end. As she said, she still loves me, but is not in love with me. I get it. I think.

I have been looking to maybe going back to Fall River to live. I would get an apartment down there. It wouldn’t be the same as owning your own home. Probably won’t be able to have a grill. I will have to get used to the quietness of being alone again too. I am not looking forward to this phase of my life. I have struggled with it. I have thought about ending it. I was told by a reader that I should not even consider it. They told me that they come from the other side of the spectrum politically than I do, but they had a lot of respect for me. I took those words to heart. So I continue to paddle upstream. There has got to be more to life than struggle. I want to laugh and smile again. I can’t remember the last time I had a good belly laugh.

Sorry to be a Debby Downer, but it is a struggle. Changes in situation are even harder with Aspergers. I am dealing the best I can, but as Cindy mentioned, I am a social person and she isn’t, so I really need to be on my own to experience life and get out and do things. I feel more like I just want to withdraw. I am even planning on passing on First Event this year. I have given a workshop there for the past three years and have been in the Fashion Show for the past two. Yet, my heart is just not there. My future is uncertain and foreboding. I struggle but I just keep paddling.

Still trying to shine.  My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.

Emma

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Not A Life Choice – Trudging On

miry-and-clay

Sometimes it is hard to keep going especially when you think you are in so deep like this woman. I noted how I have been dancing with the darkness lately. One kind follower responded back. They said that despite us being on political opposite ends of the spectrum, that they supported me and reminded me that I serve a purpose on this earth. I bring light to a subject that many do not understand.

I just want to say right off that I have no intention of doing away with myself. I do believe that all life is sacred, including my own. If I were to end it, where would that leave others who have been following my journey and have been inspired to follow their own path.

I saw a meme attributed to John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more and become more, you are a leader”. Now I don’t pretend to be a leader, but I do hope that I have managed to inspire others to become their true selves.  With exposure comes light. As more and more people are coming out as LGBT, there is a light shining and more research is being done. A recent study found that there is a genetic link between gender dysphoria and sex hormone signaling.

A significant association was identified between gender dysphoria and ERα, SRD5A2, and STS alleles, as well as ERα and SULT2A1 genotypes. Several allele combinations were also overrepresented in transgender women, most involving AR (namely, AR-ERβ, AR-PGR, AR-COMT, CYP17-SRD5A2). Overrepresented alleles and genotypes are proposed to undermasculinize/feminize on the basis of their reported effects in other disease contexts.

Conclusion
Gender dysphoria may have an oligogenic component, with several genes involved in sex hormone–signaling contributing.

I struggle sometimes with being out publicly. There are times I just want to retreat and just hide away. Many years ago I chose a public path. There were too many instances of suicide by young people, and old, that found no acceptance and chose to end life I chose to shine a light and try to educate. I hope that in some way I am being a beacon of hope to someone so they don’t take their life. If I save but one, I have lived a good life.

My hope is that more and more research comes out to prove that this is Not Just A Life Choice. We are learning more and more each day. We have found that gender and sexual preference are not black and white but a plethora of shades of grey. There are those who are fluid in that they go back and forth between genders based on what makes them comfortable that day. Why can’t we just accept that? Why do we want cookie cutter people instead of variety?

I was told by my first psychologist that she believed I was bisexual. She said the best way for me to find out was to date a guy. This was pre-transition. I was going through a nasty divorce due to my first attempt at transition. I didn’t think it was prudent to go down that road. It has sat in the back of my mind. I know that I am still attracted to women, but there has always been those few guys who I found myself attracted to, like Sam Elliot or David Duchovny. Of course, X-Files was one of my favorite shows because I liked both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. In the end, it is curiosity at this point. I have no plans on ever being with anyone else again once my marriage is over. So the world may never know.

I do want to say that I do not intend to ever take my life. I don’t think I could even if I did want to. So I trudge on through the muck. It would be nice to get to a point where I don’t have a shadow of darkness over me. One day.

So if you are LGBTQ+, be the light. Shine on and be a beacon to others. The more light we shine, the more research is done and science can show the truth.

As always, my heart to your heart, one spirit.

Emma (Unega Waya) Croft

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Another Closure

fool2

So going to do my last KJ job. I started KJ’ing as a fundraiser for the local Masonic Lodge. I have been treated to many amazing voices through the years. I especially love when I hear an amazing young voice and I tell them to keep working at it. Who knows, maybe my little bit of encouragement might inspire the next Pink, or Mary Chapin Carpenter, or Grace Slick. Hey, it could happen.

I have been doing a friend’s pig roast for the past few years. The Make A Fool of Yourself Night I think went ten years. As I am unsure of my life going forward, I think it is time to just withdraw and tend to myself for a while. My marriage is coming to an end. I am not 100% sure where I am going to end up. I am inching towards Plymouth, but until we finally sell off the farm and the house, I can’t go anywhere.

It really is bittersweet, ending all of this. When I started Make A Fool of Yourself Night, we grew that and made thousands for the Lodge’s charity funds. About two years or so ago, I was in tears as we broke yet another record for fundraising.  Last year’s was not so good. There just didn’t seem to be the energy behind it. Of course, the turnout was low as the date had to be shifted.

Music has always been a part of my life. I always aspired to play guitar. Oh, I can play some, but not enough. I was mostly hoping to write songs. I did a few. I remember writing The Good Old Days. The chorus went something like, Nowadays they’re running wild, you can’t keep up with the latest styles, things will never be the same, you’ll find love is a computer game.

So I will go and play music and Karaoke for the folks. I will enjoy the pig roast and all the great food and drink. I will listen to a lot of great voices and some not so great. LOL. Hey, Make A Fool was built on the premise that there would be at least one Fool. I used to give awards for Best Male performer, Best Female performer, Best Duo or Group, and Fool of the Night.  After ten years though, it has run it’s course and I think the Lodge will come up with something new. I kind of wish they would bring back the Cook-Off. I have many aprons from that and have come in close many years.

Change is always hard for me. I am not looking forward to the disorder that is to come. I was diagnosed with Aspergers and when I am uncomfortable or upset, I start to rock. I have been doing that a lot. It gets worse venturing into the unknown.

I want to thank all who supported me, especially when I was running the Make A Fool of Yourself Night and throughout my life. I thank MaryAnn for giving the opportunity to bring my joy of music to others at her event. I don’t know what the future holds. I have had to fight the demons of darkness and have had to see my counselor a few times. I just keep telling myself it is just a moment in time and take one more step forward. I look back at all I have gone through and where I am now and know it would be a travesty to end my life at this point. I will keep pushing forward and hopefully, I will get to the other end of the swamp.

As always, my heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.

Emma

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Not A Life Choice – Another Follow-up

StayStrong

I continue to heal. I do have twinges of pain. Some are kind of stabbing. I saw the PA on Friday and she said it was normal.  She said my vitals were excellent. BP was 113/72, Pulse Rate 63, Temp 97.9, and Oxygen at 98%.  I am mostly unmedicated at this point. I am not even taking the Tylenol anymore. Once again, I was treated to the stirrups and speculum. She had to use that medicine on the stick to cauterize a few more spots. She noted that the spot that I had noted as bleeding sometimes was normal. Considering the redo of all my plumbing and total reconstruction, I am doing well

Cindy did have her knee replacement so she is out of action for quite a while. She is slowly recuperating but should have the staples out on Monday. Her son took over the feeding duties but I did have to return to cleanup duty for the alpacas. Probably shouldn’t have started back but really no choice.

All the chickens are gone, so no more Easter Egg hunts. We are back to buying store bought. Cindy had offered them to a gentleman who came and picked them up the other day. He also took the small coop with him. So pretty much nothing left in that area but the big coop. We will probably tear that down as time gets closer to shutting down the farm.

We still have all the alpacas. None have been rehomed as of yet. So the work here still continues. Of course, I took the day off Friday since my appointment is in Boston. Wouldn’t you know it, I woke up at 3:30a. What was worse, I had to do work at 11p even though I was off. Cindy did try to get Jazzie to get her out to to go potty and let me sleep in. Unfortunately, the call of Mother Nature nixed that. So I was up at 6a this morning. It is going to be an early night tonight.

PT continues and I am now on the largest dilator. Hurts more but you get used to it. I have been doing twenty instead of fifteen minutes. Just tough to keep to a schedule when you have farm duties and work calls. I was on back to back weeks of on call.

I really am on the denouement of this ride. If it wasn’t for the occasional tweak of pain and discomfort when sitting for long periods, there would be nothing left to talk about.

On an up note, I am meeting some friends for brunch tomorrow. It will be nice to get out and be with people. Most of my social interaction these days is going to the market.

So far those who are following to maybe get an idea of what to expect, yes, you still will have some pain even after two months, but it is tolerable. Of course, you aren’t going to be tossing hay bales or toting water buckets, or carts full of alpaca poop. Just give yourself the time to heal.

As always, my heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.

Emma

 

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Not A Life Choice – Surgery Follow-up

nurse-symbol-clip-art-logo-rainbow-clip-art-hss0po-clipart

Had my six week follow-up yesterday. I had to go see the Physical Therapist first. Of course, they wouldn’t be in the same building nor the same street. I got my steps in! The Physical Therapist went over a few things. She checked to see if I knew how to do Kegels. I showed her I could do them with no problem. We went through a few other things. She told me that some of the pain could be mitigated by massaging the scar tissue. She said that more than likely the sharp pangs I felt now and then were due to the scar tissue pressing on a nerve. She said by massaging that area, it starts to loosen up a bit. Dr. Slama affirmed that later when I saw him.

I had to walk back to my appointment with Dr. Slama. As I was coming down a street, this large gentleman kept yelling at me. I was hurting and didn’t want to have to get into an altercation. He yelled a few more times and then smiled and said, I love your hair. I thanked him and kept going. I tell you, after walking two blocks in the wrong direction and then reversing and finding my way back, I was hurting. Of course, I also had to use the restroom, which didn’t help.

I made it to Dr. Slama’s appointment in plenty of time. Even had time to use the bathroom before going in. I finally experienced the whole stirrups routine. There were a few spots where the stitches had popped or I pulled something. He had some medicine on a stick that he was able to go in and rub on the spots. He noted that the medicine will help to seal the spots as it burns them. He said that I might see some extra discharge over the next couple of days as that sloughs off.

Another thing I noted to him was the sharp pain I get in one of the suture areas. He told me that the scar tissue was probably pushing against a nerve ending. He told me to start massaging the suture areas and that will help alleviate it. All in all, it was pretty uneventful. Dr. Slama said that I was healing really well and thought I was doing excellent. He took some pictures for his archive. Oh, he did get a chuckle when I told him that one of my friends commented that I now had a “designer vagina”. He said he hadn’t heard that one before.

I was set up with two more appointments, one with the PA in about a month, and then back with Dr. Slama in October. By this time it was after four and I was not looking forward to the commute home. At least with my next two appointments, we went for earlier in the day. Boston traffic can be murder. More-so when you have just been poked and prodded by the doctor and are sensitive to all the bumps on the road.

I did note to the doctor that occasionally there was some light pink when I peed. He said that was normal and that it could take up to a year for the urethra to fully heal. It was repositioned and you are using it so that is understandable.

I was a little more uncomfortable after the long ride home, but slowly things are improving. Cindy keeps reminding me that this was a huge surgery and it will take a while. In the meantime, I am looking forward to my nephew’s wedding this Saturday. It could be interesting as for some of the family, this will be the first time they see me fully transitioned. I have a killer dress that Cindy really loves on me. We spent some time last night putting together the outfit. I ordered another pair of heels. Yeah, I know, at 6’2, I don’t need to be adding height, but they were cute.

In another few weeks, Cindy and I will switch, as she will be the one having surgery and I will be doing the brunt of the farm work.

We are slowly drawing to a close on this series. I will probably wrap it up after a few more entries. I really do hope that it has educated and brought enlightenment to people. I also hope that it has served as a guiding light to those who choose to follow this path. My Cherokee friends named me Unega Waya, White Wolf. In their tradition, the wolf is a pathfinder and teacher. I hope that I have made the path a bit easier for someone else.

My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.

Emma Morgaine Croft

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