This is unconditional love. I have had many ups and downs in the past few months. One thing has been constant since Ginger came into my life is that there is hope. We go for walks. Every morning she wakes me and gets me out there walking.
I was diagnosed with a DVT end of last year. So I am supposed to walk at least once an hour during my waking times. I have kept to that, but now that I have a companion, it is not done alone. I still have a problem with my left foot but I bought some orthotic inserts for my shoes that has appeared to allay that.
I will get my second Pfizer shot on the 17th which hopefully will bring me one step closer to normalcy. It is hard enough being alone, but being isolated due to Covid has added even more to my depressive state. Ginger has helped to alleviate that. I cannot wait until I can just go to a restaurant as I wish. One thing I find with Ginger is that she brings unconditional love. It is great that she has a friend with Cooper, my neighbor’s dog, but she also gets along with all the others. It was great to see her even get closer to Grace. I may be isolated and alone but it is great when Cooper and Ginger can get together and play. I continue to try to focus on the positive and Ginger is really helping on that. I really have grown to love this dog with all my heart, She has shown me a reason to continue to live.
My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit. Unega Waya, (White Wolf)
I love to quote a Hindu teaching, “There are many paths up the mountain. The only one not getting to the top is the one who runs around and around telling everyone else they are on the wrong path.”
I saw this image on another site and it resonated with me. I was raised Roman Catholic, I was an altar person, a Youth Minister, and had considered even more. This was despite the RC Church not making me feel comfortable. I chose to be open to all paths and all journeys. This, I felt, would help me to understand and welcome others.
When I finally left the Church and decided to strike out to learn my own spiritual path, I felt drawn initially to the Druids. Being Irish, I felt that would be my first venture into a new spiritual path. I learned the many levels one could achieve.
My next venture was into shamanism. I took a course with one of the notable American Shamans, Sandra Ingerman. I learned a lot in a short period of time. As with the Catholic Church, I struggled as I thought I just didn’t get it. Sandra and I would have coffee each morning together and she advised me that I had a natural ability to shift into the spirit world. It is interesting that when I was learning to be a Youth Minister, I also felt the same difficulty. I remember crying in my bunk and one of the other trainees came in. He asked why I was crying and I told him that I just didn’t get it. He started crying too and told me that they all looked to me because I was the one who seemed to get it and made it appear natural.
I continued to learn shamanism and read volume after volume trying to understand. I read one volume that spoke of weather shamanism and the ethical ramifications. If you work with weather you have to ensure that you aren’t pushing a severe storm to someone else.
There was so much to learn.
The next venture into spirituality was to learn Native American wisdom and teachings. This is when I met Bear Warrior and Little Wren. I was welcomed into their midst and learned a lot. They noted that I was going out and learning and then bringing back to the group and teaching. It was then that they gifted me my Tsalagi (Cherokee) name, Unega Waya, White Wolf. In the Cherokee belief the Wolf is seen as a pathfinder and healer. I was honored to be given such a great name and sought to be the best teacher I could be.
I continued to learn and grow. I came across a great book, Seven Masters, One Path.
It brought together teachings from many great teachers. These days, I still embrace my Native American teachings as well as my Shamanistic teachings, but I lean towards Buddhism. I thought Buddha Guatama had a great teaching, “
Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” ― Buddha Siddhartha Guatama Shakyamuni
For me, spirituality is fluid. I do not settle on dogma but allow myself to be free to flow. There are many great teachings out there. When we get trapped into a specific dogma it stifles our spiritual growth. I guess that is why the Nicene Creed never agreed with me.
I studied the Aztec medicine way of Curanderismo for a little while. I learned that in that path I was a consejera. I remember a book by Elana Avila. She talked of learning curanderismo and introducing it into the hospital. It was called Woman Who Glows in the Dark.
I continue to learn and grow. I hope you are inspired to do the same. I came to be known as a wounded healer. I embrace that as it allows me to be empathetic to others who are in pain.
Ginger coming into my life has been a Godsend. I am not alone anymore. I have someone to go on walks with. She greets me with kisses in the morning and sleeps on the side of my bed. She hasn’t gotten on the bed as yet, but that may have been previous training. She doesn’t go on any of the furniture. I did get her a cozy bed to lie in when we are in the living room.
My mental health keeps improving. I still feel alienated at times, but that is more due to not being able to get out much. A had a chuckle when a neighbor saw one of my pictures and noted the Fitzgerald’s in the pic. She umps softball games and Nicole was one of the players. She even remembered Papa. I miss that man.
Last year was a hellish year. The virus, separation, isolation, not being able to just go to a restaurant when you want. It all wore on me. I am hoping that I have finally turned things around and will be able to hit positive strides. My doctor got me set up with appointments so I can get my mammogram, colonoscopy, and eyes checked. So I will get medical work up done. I am scheduled to get my Covid shot on Saturday.
Well, I hope everyone is also becoming more hopeful. Please, if you start going to dark places, reach out. Talk to your doctor, see a counselor. There is help out there, you are not alone.
Sometimes it is that external existence that gives you purpose. I owe my life to Ginger. I have struggled so much over the past few months. I came close to ending it, but now I have a companion and friend who I love and want her to thrive. She was a rescue, but then she was rehomed with me. She gives me purpose again to thrive and live so I can provide for her. I want her to be happy, to feel loved. I may no longer feel that, but I know that I have it in my heart to give it to her. So many are despairing these days but she gives me love and hope.
I love when she wakes me in the morning. I love when we go for our walks. She has the hots for our neighbor’s dog Cooper. She whines a lot hoping to go and play with him, but in the end, she is loving and in turn gives me reason to push forward.
Ginger I love you and will do what I can to make your life special.
I wrote my doctor to tell her that I had no will to live and just had no desire to continue life. That set in motion a lot of things. I was told that if I was that despondent to go to the ER. In the meantime, she noted that I should not be without a counselor and set me up with a referral for a new counselor. Everything started moving fast and I soon was meeting with my new counselor every week. Initially, we went through my history and she had a slew of questions to cover. She started to question me to see if I was bipolar but I knew that right away as one of my wives had been bipolar.
We covered a lot of ground the first two meetings. She was much better than my previous counselor who asked me on my second visit what I was coming to see her for. She asked many probing questions. I appreciated her thoroughness. I also had more appreciation for my doctor as she took action when she got my message.
What I learned from this are a couple of things. First, never try to go it alone. You may think you are strong, but sometimes the darkness can be too much. Second, it isn’t weak to ask for help. I should have long before I let it get too far gone.
I let it go too far and have to deal with the ramifications of it. I came close to ending it. I am fortunate not to have. My daughter and her friend found my a new best buddy.
Meet Ginger, she is an Australian Cattle Dog. We have really connected. She helps me to stay out of my head and out of darkness. She wakes me up in the morning with kisses and jumps up to give me a hug. Had I given up, I never would have met her.
We must always remember there is help out there. Reach out to your doctor, reach out to your friends. Never try to go it alone. If need be, reach out to the Suicide Prevention lines.
I have been trying to get an emotional support dog for a while now. I have had to deal with a rescue that rarely responds. I have been seeing a counselor who told me that I needed to get a dog, but when it came down to it, she was told by her supervisor that she could not write the letter for an ESA. That was after I quit another psych because on our second meeting she asked me what we were meeting for. It appears that she never took notes.
My PCP was told by his legal department that he couldn’t write a letter for me because of liability. Lawyers have made it so much more difficult to do anything.
So I refuse to give up. I advised the Property Manager what was going on and how I have been refused by my counselor and my PCP. She offered for me to pay over time. I am going to do that. Once approval comes back then I will begin in earnest searching every rescue for that dog that will be my partner in crime. If I didn’t have to pay the additional fee I might have been able to afford a cavapoo. Instead, I will have to stick to rescues and hope.
The thing is, we always have to depend on ourselves. We have to be strong and fight for what we want. Never give in, never give up. One foot in front of the other. If you meet a challenge, find a way around it. Become a warrior for your own cause. In the end, we can’t depend on others for help. We have to take charge and fight for everything.
This has been an extremely tough year for me. Many days I have danced with the darkness but press on. At this moment I am trying to get my Property Manager to agree to allow me to have an emotional support dog. I have not heard anything yet, but trying to be patient as they have to check with my counselor. If one thing my journey taught me is to be patient.
I continue to push forward. I walk every day, most days putting in over my 10,000 steps. Today I am at over 14,000 and still have to walk at 2, 3, 4, and 5p. It just seems that is my whole life is working and walking. Not much of an existence. I do try to do what I can. Today I am making myself Duck L’Orange. As I have in the past, I will use leftover duck for Duck Alfredo. I bought some rice as I have a rice cooker I have not used, so maybe some duck fried rice. I used to get that at Gourmet Garden in Wareham but the locals here don’t offer it.
While I sometimes suffer depression due to being alone and isolated, especially during this Covid pandemic, I try to press on. I walk. I have come to know some of the local vendors. I get my Italian Grinder sans lettuce and a Highland Special Pizza from my local pizza shop. I was getting tarts, oh so good, from Confectioners on New Boston Rd. I got my hair finally washed and cut with Connie at Euphoria. I am ready to step up to colour. I started getting electrolysis from Elite. I even bought some yarn and needles from Karen at the craft shop. Got some new kitchen towels from there to replace the ones I bought at Christmas. I bought some new Irish themed towels. Perfect!
I started with a new counselor that I really like. I didn’t much care for the prior one. At least this one is being thorough. She even asked me questions to see if I was bipolar. I picked that out quick enough. I explained to her that while I am not bipolar I was once married to a bipolar person and when they went off lithium, wow.
I hate that I can’t just go to a restaurant these days. The Governor has restricted to 25% capacity so sometimes it is hard to get a table. I have wanted to try a few places but mostly I maintain my distance. I am in that older crowd that they say have to be especially cautious.
The isolation and loneliness gets to me a lot but I have my campfire friends.
I saw these at Shaws and started collecting them. I arranged them around the candle to make it like a campfire. Anything you can do to get through Covid. I am hoping by the Fall we are normalized. I miss being able to just go somewhere. I worry with these new strains coming out that we may have new outbreaks. Until then, I will just keep walking. Whatever it takes to get through, day by day, step by step.
I haven’t posted to this series in a bit. I have been dealing with the isolation due to Covid but I felt I needed to come back to this.
One of the things that gets to a lot of transgender folk is that they feel they don’t measure up. I have spoken of this in the past. I wrote one of my blog series addressing this. I called it Just Own It. I later created a workshop at First Event based on that blog. I spoke about how we continue to compare ourselves to others. We are constantly trying to measure up. This is a detriment to our becoming ourselves. I have seen many in the community who belittle themselves because they feel they don’t measure up.
We really need to look into ourselves and become who we were meant to be. One of the things I used to tell them was to venture into Walmart or Target and take note of all the varieties of women. Big women, short women, women kind of plump. Some dressed to the nines and some in sweats. Why are cisgender women allowed so much variety but transgender women have such a narrower space to conform to. The thing is, it is they who hold themselves to that strict window. It isn’t others, it is them. I continue to press that they need to own who they are.
Life is too short. We need to embrace who we are. We need to celebrate who we are. Stop comparing yourself to unattainable images. The advertising community has done a disservice to ciswomen for so long. They show these models in size 0 dresses. Be you. Be happy. Stop buying into the false ideal. What is truly ideal is someone with a good heart and able to show love and caring. That is true beauty. Forget about comparing yourself but choose to be you, the best you that you can be. You are special. You are unique. You are loved.
I have struggled a lot lately. I really want my life to end but my spirituality forbids the taking of a life. I used to get asked to take my friends outside when a bug was seen in the house. My doctor had put me on an antidepressants. Unfortunately, he didn’t put it to renew so I am out. So I do what I have been doing all along work and walk. I have over 15,000 steps in today at 2:45p. I would push for 20,000, but I may need to rest for a bit. When I get too tired, I end up dragging my right foot and my right arm goes numb and just hangs. It was bad enough going out with a sore left hip and a possible break on my left foot. I did it though, I went out to St. Patrick’s cemetery and visited my grandparents grave.
I left crying. I miss them and some of my happiest memories were with them. My grandfather inspired me to start life as a chef. I cried most of the way out. Part of me was angry that I couldn’t end it. I sometimes feel I am condemned to live out this life. Of course if that psychic was right, it will be until I am 93.
When I get real down, I post on Facebook. Within moments my friends reach out and inspire me to keep going. They remind me that I have a lot of followers and inspire others by overcoming my struggles. They remind me to be a light.
So for now, I continue to walk and sometimes hobble. I am just glad that I live in an area that is safe. I got to meet some of the vendors on New Boston Road. I am now doing business with the hairdresser, the electrologist, the confections shop, great tarts! And I am going to try to learn how to knit so I saw Karen at the craft shop. I picked up some Christmas towels that can hang on the stove. I am trying to be somewhat festive. I picked up a new apron for when I want to bake.
I am hoping that things improve in the coming year. I have been isolated and alone mostly. I love to entertain but can’t really have visitors. In the meantime, I will continue to try to be a light for others.
The hardest thing to get used to is the isolation. I have taken to walking everywhere I can. Yesterday, I got in 22,333 steps. I am getting close to that today. I do have to get in some walks at 3, 4, and 5p. I got a FitBit that keeps me pushing. I also joined with others to do challenges. I won the challenge yesterday despite straining my calf muscle and being bothered with an old injury to my left foot from when an alpaca kicked me.
On my birthday, I got in 22,949 steps. Most of that came about from my challenge to recreate the walk I did as a child from St Patrick’s, now Good Shephard Church. When I was a child I was going to St. Patrick’s and had to stay for First Communion classes. I would have to wait at the convent until my Father came to pick me up. One day, I chose to wait at the corner. The Mother Superior kept sending kids out to tell me to get back to the convent. I decided I had enough and decided to walk the over three miles to my grandparents house. They had the cops out looking for me, but I had no problem walking downtown and finding my way to my grandparents. I got in a bit of trouble for that and needless to say, I did not return to St. Patrick’s the next year. I walked all the way out there and back. Unfortunately, I forgot my mask so I could not make any stops along the way. On the way back, I opted to retrace my steps and went to what used to be my grandparents on the corner of Oak and Bank. I touched the hedge and then walked back up the Highlands to my apartment.
I am alone now and except for seeing the neighbors outside and giving their dogs treats, I am isolated. Given I am 62 and supposedly in that danger age, I suppose it is for the best. I am a social person though, so it eats at me. I have had get togethers with my daughter and her friend Emily. We even met up and went to St. James Pub with Cate. Those events are few and far between. Most of my socialization is going to the market or the occasional chat with people I meet on my walks. So I walk.
Probably the most beneficial thing about the walking is being able to get out of my head. I listen to things around me. I hear the birds, the rustle of the leaves. I try to stay connected to everything around me. Part of my walk takes me past Little Theater. It is closed for now, but my Uncle used to be with them.
I miss entertaining people. I have no idea what Thanksgiving or Christmas will look like this year. I miss being able to have people over. I hate the isolation. So I get out and walk. I am 119 miles away from hitting 500 lifetime miles. Imagine that, walking 500 miles since I got the FitBit earlier this year. That is my life now, walking.