Small Hiatus

My father’s illness, and his impending death, have completely taken over my head, heart and attention span. I apologize for losing track and getting caught up in something other than writing, but hey… life happens. As does death, and this is my last surviving parent. I’ve got to tune in to him, not me, right now.

I will be back as soon as I can get back to this. Thank you for understanding.

Detour Ahead

This blog has been fairly general, and somewhat adult but not specifically so… That will be changing. If you are a young person, the ally or parent of one who has been reading this, that will no longer be appropriate. I intend to discuss my experiences with sudden opiate removal and its implication, and they are fully adult topics.

If you are interested in following my Transgender/sexual reassignment transition, then my blog NoneOfTheAboveFits here at WordPress is the blog you want. Those topics will be discussed only in passing here in the future, as they pertain to larger concerns.

If you are interested in medical marijuana or vaping or concentrates or anything in that arena, check my blog Vaping4Life here at WordPress. Again, any information pertinent to that topic in specific will be found there. References here are secondary to the health issues to be discussed.

Invisible diseases, unseen problems, the ramifications of others’ choices on your life, those are the topics I intend to air here. I personally have had my life ruined, in some ways, by the allopathic medical establishment and its often ridiculously stringent swings in practice and the Big Pharma corporations who support/supply them. When I began treatment for chronic pain in 2003, the belief was X, and when I was forced off them cold turkey 12 years later, the belief was Y. Who put these beliefs in motion in the first place? The very Big Pharmaceutical corporations and their drug-toting reps who land like Santa in the doc’s office and leave behind all kinds of expensive and addictive goodies for them to hand out. They also leave plenty of “research” and support for their concoctions, many of which are really awful alternatives, IF they are actually true in the first place. Chemo and radiation being extreme examples, the more “benign” ones are drugs we take every day without question. I urge you to question EVERY medication you now take, especially opiates. There are successfully prosecuted lawsuits proving pharmaceutical companies have flat-ass lied to doctors, who unwittingly passed those lies along to trusting patients. The main lie is that opiates can be used safely on a long term basis. It just ain’t so. There is a major price.

America is being dulled and controlled by opiods. Millions of us suffer needlessly every day. How can I, a chronic pain patient, be so anti-opiod when I still take a small amount of oxycodone three or four times a day? You will see in coming entries. I am no different than you: a trusting citizen, going to my trusted doc for help, and what I got fucked me up. I do NOT blame my doctor. She helped me as best she could with the information she was given and could research for herself. She took me to a comfort level and then IMMEDIATELY began the process of bringing me down off them. I have no problem with her methods. Given time, I would have reached this very point, but I would NOT have so many resulting problems.

If you are on opiods now, please talk to your doctor at the earliest opportunity about “titrating” down off them. That word implies a gentle removal over time. Titrating means to remove little by little, to go down by small amounts, in the general sense. Certainly that isn’t the actual definition, but it’s the result. If you remove the opiates at a rate your body can adjust to, you do not suffer sudden mineral loss, the formation of stones in various body parts, a complete breakdown of reality, and symptoms so shocking and rude that it will take separate entries just to explain their horrors. You will have trouble believing my story. I know this. I lived through it and I still cannot believe certain points in time actually happened. I don’t want them to have. I am mortified by how my body seems to have betrayed me. You will be shocked.

It will shift your reality, I hope. It is my devout desire to do so. I want NO ONE to go through my particular hell. That is why I will spell it out in gory detail. I apologize in advance, but you who also take these drugs MUST KNOW. I want you to avoid my fate if you can. You may not be able to. The politics of pain control are now in the hands of others than the medical persons we look to. They are now driven by those we have elected to Congress, to be sure, but more insidiously, those who LOBBY those we elect. This country is run by corporations which have the right to personhood but no responsibility for what their disembodied persons DO to our society. That is a totally different illness, but it is at the root of what I will be talking about.

We need to wake up. I’m hoping to make your nightmares bad enough that you do so.

New Blog Organization

I have decided to move my trans-talk stuff to a different blog. I feel too vulnerable to continue to share that here publicly. If you know me and want to read more, ask for the password. If you are trans, considering trans or the partner of a transperson, write me at qatmaster@gmail.com. Be patient. I am not able to update or monitor the site daily but I will reply as soon as I can.

I am also starting another blog. I haven’t decided the name of it yet, and am just putting it together. I will use it to talk about the condition known as Opiod Induced Hyperalgia, a medical condition CAUSED by taking pain meds too long or in too high an amount, and my experiences with methadone and chronic pain and chronic fatigue. I will announce its arrival here and it will be public.

This “Qatmaster” blog is going to continue to be my “top layer” — about my general life, viewpoints, experiences and opinions. My “Vaping4Life” blog will continue to be about medical marijuana and using it in ways other than combustion, such as (duh) vaping and cooking and concentrates.

Thank you for reading my posts. I welcome you back as I document those experiences I wish others to know about, to avoid, to learn from. I appreciate your patience and hope you enjoy the results.

The New Man Speaks Out

Yesterday, I changed my life. Again.

I took my first shot of testosterone, the chemical whose absence made me the woman I was since the unexpected onset of puberty back in the Dark Ages when I was a mere sprout. I liked that woman okay, but I hated her name, and I resented the walls she built to adapt to life in the wrong vessel. The day I changed my name from the ultrafemme moniker I was stuck with for 44 years to the neutral unsexed one I now embrace was the most powerful day in my life, barely eclipsing other critical events like my daughter’s arrival in my life, but eclipsing them by a measurable portion nonetheless.

I have lived for a decade and a half, this entire century, as a “person,” someone of indeterminate gender (or so I thought). Turns out, I’m the only one at all surprised by this move toward a distinct biological chemistry. Even a somewhat redneck cousin, entrenched in East Texas, responded to the news by saying, “that explains a lot”…  It’s just not much of a change, sort of a “step to the right” which I absolutely hope leads to some “pelvic thrusts” in the predicable future. I don’t know who I get to enjoy said thrusts with, but s/he will be well appreciated when it occurs.

I’ve been preparing for this day since I decided to make this step back in July. I started with Rogaine. I’ve been painting my future beard on my somewhat feminine face for almost three months now. My “sideburns” are head hairs that now grow down in front of my ears. They aren’t beard material yet and lack that “pubic” feel to them, but I have at least a dozen that are facial pubes sprouted on the edges of my lips and on my chin. They first volunteered after menopause. At first, I was weirded out by sprouts of such nature. But before long, I wished they were joined by more. That was as far as I wanted to go, then. If I wanted more, I just used mascara on my peach fuzz. It worked well enough that one of my best friends actually hit on me before he recognized who he was talking to! Funny enough, in every computer game I play, my “character” has the same beard, the same short hair, and the general same look… Hmmm.

This was the early 2000s. I was quite literally surrounded with genderqueer folk of every ilk. I was active in the local bdsm scene, always a great place to go for acceptance at face value, since everyone there is looking for the same thing: a place to be free of judgment and to act normally (whatever THAT means). I made friends with others who were transitioning and found myself entranced by their stories. One in particular impressed the hell out of me. She grew her own breasts without any kind of hormonal input. I don’t know, to this day, how she did that, but I watched those nubile things emerge from HIS chest, and I watched HER become the woman on the outside that she had harbored for years inside. I started wanting to somehow will my own body into revealing itself. I didn’t want to MAKE the whiskers grow, I wanted them to volunteer on their own like my half a dozen post menopausal chin hairs had already.

I was buff. I was fit. For the first time in my 4.5 decades, I felt like I was filling up my own space completely. I had finally lived up to that “potential” my parents nagged me about.  I dated 20-somethings and bragged shamelessly about how “this was what 45 LOOKED like when it was done right…” And then I fell from grace.

Literally. I think of it as a college level education in gravity. I fell from the tailgate of my pickup truck one morning while moving. I was already tired. I was not paying attention to much of anything but my agenda. When the toe of my boot got caught on the trim of the tailgate, my “hop down” became a one-handed, full body weight, forced handstand, in gravel. I was goobered. I damaged all the nerves in my left hand and arm, and then I hit the ground so hard I couldn’t breath well for what felt like hours. My next chiropractic visit sounded like a marimba rehearsal. In 20 years of chiropractic treatment, I had neither heard nor felt such a thing. My life was never the same again.

Now, a dozen years and a bazillion pain pills later, I have emerged from the experience. A doctor, careless and judgmental, forced me to go cold turkey off pain meds I’d been titrating down off of for five years. Once at a high of 125 mgs of methadone 4 times daily, and added breakthrough pain meds on top of that, I was happily down to 70 mgs and ready to  try 65 mgs out when she stomped through my life as I sought a referral for a new doctor from her. Instead of a referral to a chronic pain professional and a month’s worth of meds to cope with the inevitable wait, she gave me a week’s worth of methadone, a referral to a surgeon (useless — I’ve had both radial and ulnar nerves operated on already), and a stiff lecture on getting over my “habit” and moving on in life.

I had my last methadone dose on my mother’s birthday in June. That’s the only way I can remember, because everything from about mid-May through early August is now a fuzzy dream. I feel like I nearly died, and I am most certainly NOT the same person I was in the spring of this year. I had a couple of ER visits and some truly horrid experiences. I will expound upon those later in another blog, to give them their true depth of horrible-osity. For now, I’ll just say that I lost nearly 30 pounds in a couple of weeks, I now have gallstones and osteoporosis of a majorly bad sort, and am at “high risk” of a broken hip or two. I have virtually no calcium left in my badly porous body. I lost several teeth and all my expensive caps and dental work, done in only 2005, totally wasted money. I now face serious health concerns. From now on, no matter WHAT I do. With or without testosterone.

Nothing bad has happened to me in my now nearly 6 decades of living that did not end up improving my life in some completely unexpected way. This experience is no different. I want to think I’m just at the same place I would have been, a little early, had I been able to continue removing myself from the drugs. I was totally motivated to do so. I was unresistant to the idea or the application thereof. I didn’t HAVE to go through the hell that was June, July and August, the way I did, I believe. But I will never know. That choice was taken away from me, and I dealt with it the same way I do everything else — head on. I am a terminal optimist, a mature non-pollyanna s0rta guy, but implacably optimistic in the face of anything. This was the new situation, so I dealt with it. Day by day, doctor by doctor, test after test, I coped to the best of my ability. I was different now, again, and I just had to cope.

So, suddenly, the idea of testosterone and a formal transition (rather than remaining a female bodied person) shifted from a possibility that someday I might consider to a potential “short-cut” to health. I think of it like I do my golf carts, of which I have two. One runs on new lead-acid batteries I got at Costco a couple of years ago, and over time, the sulfuric acid in those batteries will settle onto the lead plates inside until they won’t hold a charge anymore. My “break-me” golf cart, for learning on and “fixing” on my own, contains sulfated batteries which now run on an alkaline epsom salts solution in which sulfuric acid is released from the lead plates (or something like that — NOT a chemist!), and then the batteries are no different than the alkaline batteries in my remote control. I used to be a lead acid battery running on estrogen, and now I’m gonna be an alkaline battery running on testosterone. It’s just not that different to me.

In reality, outside of metaphor, I’m hoping that testosterone does more than just make my hair grow so I can look like the mad gunman I am in games. I want testosterone to give me energy so I can overcome the chronic fatigue which has plagued me cyclically since college years. I want it to make my pitiful attempts at working out more fruitful, to help with mineral absorption, both of which could obviate some osteoporosis problems. I’m told these things are possible but not predictable. I’m told hormones are so complicated that every single human being is different and responds differently to treatment. I believe that testosterone and its implications will make the outside of me resemble the inside of me better, and choose to believe that the impact of this shift in chemistry will give me more productive years than I would have had I chosen to remain in the fragile, frail feminine vessel I’ve gotten used to…

I haven’t decided yet if I’m taking legal action against this “doctor” who screwed my life and body up so. I’ve given myself until the new year to decide. What I’ve lost is dental health, bone health and a certain set of symptoms that came from using opiates for a decade plus. What I’ve gained is as yet unknown to me, but projections look good. I stand a fair chance of making this all work out. All I gotta do is NOT break a hip or other bones, stay on target, and make sure I check reality at all times. Not really so different after all.

And this is GOOD news?

And this is GOOD news?

Check out this link to an article at my fave site procon.org. Apparently, our kill rate is ONLY four civilians last year? No more than FOUR civilians, non combatants, are getting killed by American drones powered out of Sierra Vista? Does anybody else see anything wrong with this? Exactly who’s in charge of American war policy these days? This is how I cope best: remembering that there are bigger problems out there than my pain…

Sick and tired of being sick and tired

This is my third night in a row of not sleeping. My eyes are puffy from continued lack of sleep and intermittent crying (at least it’s not the other way around). My left ear has a hot nail in it, connected to a subwoofer buried in the back of my skull, and they dance in a frenzy of fire with every heartbeat. My left arm is uncharacteristically silent, but I’ll feel it soon. It generally hurts within a few minutes of typing, so I expect it to make an appearance sometime soon. That’s an old friend, that pain. I can ignore it when I need to, and I need to now. I can’t just lay here and watch Air Crash Investigation reruns anymore. Something has to give.

So I’ll give. I don’t have a lot TO give, but I’ll give. I know I’m not the only one up like this, so it’s you that I choose to give these words to. You out there who know intimately how I feel right now. Yeah, you. I’m talking to you.

I’m sorry we know one another so well. It’s not right that I can know your pain so deeply and not know a single other thing about you, not your name, not your diagnosis (as though that somehow represents you), not your location. Just your pain. But I do know it. And I wish neither of us did. But since there’s more than one of us out there suffering with this myelomic blight, we might as well share the burden. That’s why I blog. I can’t stand this burden alone. I’m just too sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I actually beat this shit once already. That’s a thing I need to remember and to share with you. I beat it. I lived alone at the time, and worked out, starting with the smallest vegetable cans I could find, as weights. Tomato paste cans. Seriously. That’s how I did it. I moved up to soup cans, and then got some bars and weights. And then I got an elliptical trainer and then I got a weight gym and I got buff. I got fucking buff. At 45 years old. I actually preened in my middle aged delight: this is what 45 LOOKS like when it’s done right.

And then I fell off the tailgate of my truck. Well, technically I threw myself at the ground from my tailgate, if you count gravity as a life-changing influence and I do. I landed in gravel on my left palm and wrist. I shoved rocks into my carpel tunnel. I stood there up-ended on my palm for what seemed like an hour and then collapsed onto my left upper back. I had an adjustment the next morning that sounded like calypso. ALL my ribs were out of alignment. I knew I had fucked up seriously fucked up completely truly fucked myself right the fuck up. That was the end of THAT run. That was what 46 looked like when it was done wrong.

I’ve been in pain since then. Since 11:45 am, Sunday morning, February 23rd, 2003. But who’s counting? I only thought TMJD hurt. That lil pain was nuthin! A toothache. My thumb, on the other hand, was pulsing and throbbing like a cartoon balloon. After surgery, I found out my little finger was also involved. Now IT was throbbing like the cartoon. After another surgery, I found out I was just gonna keep hurting, simply at a slightly lower level. And I get all the pain pills I can ask for, what a great benefit that is. Not irony; it really IS a benefit. Just not a free one; we pay for the relief with the side effects of those drugs, and I appreciate the good they do. I just live with the side effects that come with them.

They’ve saved my sanity for the most part. But they do not stop the pain. Pain pills corral the pain. They wall it up inside me and concentrate it in one place so I can stare it down. Nothing stops the pain but medical marijuana, and it only works for a little while. Not complaining, not complaining, not at all. I thank all the gods and goddesses that be that mmj is legal in Arizona where I live. I just can’t afford anough of it to stay pain free… despite vaping, despite very clever re-use habits and reclaiming by-products of vaping. So I balance on the fine line between pharmacology and natural solutions, anything to shut the pain up so I can think of something else, anything else, just for a little while. Vaping allows me a freedom smoking didn’t; using mmj at different temperatures allows me to tailor my high and gives me a mental clarity unlike any pain pill I’ve ever tried.

So I encourage you to look to your own life and see where your strengths are, see what you’ve beaten before and how you did it, to remind yourself of what’s truly important to you. I encourage you to blog and keep blogging, to explore this medium of communication and see what you have to offer others. Only by helping others can you hope to turn your own life around. I don’t mean that helping other people will stop the pain. I mean that helping other people in pain will help me conquer my own pain’s hold on me. I’m hoping that somewhere, somebody is reading this, and that somebody feels better as a result of having done so. Maybe somebody somewhere will read my other blogs and get some kind of benefit from those words. But even if nobody else ever reads these words, I already feel better just for having written them.

I now return to my regularly scheduled streaming reruns of other people’s disasters, calamities which are not happening to me at this moment, bad things I’ve never encountered and probably never will. Works for me. Maybe I’ll even sleep.

I just keep trying…

I’ve been trying to write a post for days now. As soon as the bees in my opera glove get drowsy, and my hand stops hurting a bit, I head for the keyboard. I just start typing, because we all know paragraph one isn’t really paragraph one until the article’s written. But then I realize that although my fingers are still moving, my head has gone blank. I sit back and think, or try to think, and then I realize my hand hurts from typing, and I’ve got nothing worth reading, an empty head and my hand still hurts.

I went to my junk paragraphs bucket looking for inspiration or at least something worth plagiarizing from myself. I even pulled text out of emails, thinking surely I had written something to somebody that was worthy of public display. After the third person’s batch of emails, I realize I am talking about vaping entirely too much. I’ve become an evangelist on the issue. It’s worse than that, really. It’s more akin to the old joke about codependents who buy self-help books for other people. I’m buying vaping kits for people who combust and for whom I care so I’m trying to get them to do something other than cancer sticks or combusting various and sundry substances.

See, I’m rambling. And that’s the best I can dredge up recently. Rambling. So I’ve kept away from posting because I didn’t want to be “seen” rambling. Or is it being “seen” acting less than perfect? Oh, I dunno… But part of this blogging thing for me, anyway, is about transparency. I see people revealing themselves in these pages. In fact, the best one recently is someone named Dead Men Don’t Snore, who “liked” my about entry. Since I can go to the site and check it out so easily from the email, I did. And I found an entry called “New Year, Old Guilt” that was pretty damned moving. I invite you to check it out for some real writing with purpose. The stuff I can usually do but haven’t got a drop of in my head today.

The main thing I liked, besides the fact that it’s well written, was DMDS’s take on guilt. Most of the year, guilt is assuaged by trying to be useful to others. I love that. That’s ME. And the rest of the year, it can just take care of itself. I love that, too. I just wish I could do the same with words. Most of the time I can write, but sometimes I can’t. It makes me crazy when my head is empty. I feel I “should” be able to write. I “should” be able to do all kinds of things. I “should” all over myself. And then I feel guilty, like I “should” for such an offense as being imperfect.

I’ve been typing, writing, putting words down, but I just haven’t been able to string anything together to publish. I can’t just whine so openly yet. I gotta build up to that. I’ve been trying to use blog entries to pull myself up with, but when the weather goes nuts here, I go down. It’s hot in the day, cold at night, except when it’s cold at day and freezing at night and raining. Which it has been recently. So, what happens? I got DOWN.

In general, I have good weeks, bad weeks and bed weeks. This has been a bed week. Rotten. Fucking rotten. Not to whine, just saying. It used to be good, bad and bed MONTHS. So I count my blessings. I had several bad years in a row, and a bed year before that. So I count my blessings often. But I still have good weeks, bad weeks and bed weeks, and it’s been a bed week if ever there was one.

Solid pain in my left arm for about 95% of the time and then there’s sleep. If I get any. Oh, and after a week in bed, all the rest of me hurts, too. I went out to check my mail today, and while I feel better for having moved around, my arm hurt worse just from the act of walking. No, I didn’t do a handstand, I just held it next to my body. But it’s enough on a bed day to wake the bees up and let the monster out of the box or whatever metaphors I’m mixing at the time.

Actually, letting the monster out of the box is the right one for today. It’s like there’s a bad guy or a parasite or an alien or something inside my arm. If I can keep it calm and not use my arm (or my elbow or wrist or hand or shoulder, kinda upper left quadrant) very much, all is pretty well. If I use my arm too much, then the monster gets impatient in the box and starts thrashing around. When a bed week is happening, if I do too much of anything, the monster gets out and runs around all around my body, not just in my arm/neck/jaws areas. Oh no, not limited to anything at all. Just as all inclusive as can be. Ain’t that great?

But today is a success on ONE level at any rate. I managed to post to my blog. No matter what else does or doesn’t happen, I managed to reach out and publish this blog.

Which Way Do I Go?

I was talking to my friend J today about blogging, and I realized what it is that feels so safe here. I am able to present myself truly and without filters here because it’s inherently a truth-telling mechanism. I love that. I have my private life and it stays as private as I need it to. But if my life somehow offers an example that others might find valuable, it’s tremendously empowering to ME that I can present that example openly and without worrying about any kind of rejection.

You, dear reader, may disagree with me. You might openly disagree and leave me a message about which we can converse. But you cannot reject me. You may simply go away if you don’t like what I say. That’s not rejection, that’s choice, and choice is empowering. For example, if you don’t like abortions, don’t have one. That’s your choice and your right. However, it’s beyond your rights, imho (gentlemen), to tell someone ELSE what their choices are. And that is what I have come to see has happened not only to me, but to a LOT of folks in my generation. We were given choices. We weren’t asked questions to find out what we thought, we were told what to think. From the beginning, from pink and blue, all the way up in life, it’s choices between: off and on, left or right, up or down, lots of binary choices… Those are safe ones. Yes or no. No messy maybes in the way…

But what happens if you have a personal awareness that “binary” choices are inherently incomplete? That’s part of my story. I’m a maybe. I’ve always been a maybe. I have dealt with what is now called “gender dysphoria” since I was old enough to perceive myself as a person separate from others. I had a father with a wicked sense of humor, heavily tainted by the sexism and male privilege taught from the cradle in Texas, which is, indeed, “a whole nother country…”, and he thought teasing was a way to make his children strong enough to deal with the outside world. So I was given some strange ideas about how the world was, from the earliest time I can remember.

I was told, at a most formative time, that had my parents not gone to the drive-in the night my mother went into labor, my parents wouldn’t have had to rush to the hospital. While rushing to the hospital, we hit some railroad tracks real hard, and my balls got knocked off (I’m not joking. I still don’t know whether my father was joking or seeing me as the “male” person I had to be if I wasn’t a frilly lil girl). The “joke” goes on, if you can believe it, with the “fact” that my name was going to be Eli, had I not been born a girl. All of this would have been just a bizarre joke had I not already questioned my gender at the age of four when I had the first of many dreams of being a male person. Nothing particularly interesting about the dreams except that I was always a boy or a man, never a girl or a woman. There were other pieces to this puzzle, including the weirdly prophetic “poor lil girl ain’t got but one mama” (later in life, when I identified myself as a lesbian soccer mom, that came floating up from somewhere in my memory.), and the always popular parental temporary tattoo: “sweet” (in ballpoint pen) over one lil pectoral muscle, no mammaries in sight for years to come, and “sour” over the other…

Later in life, much later, I sat at lunch with a friend who suddenly blurts out the question, “Do you have a nickname?” I asked why, never having heard this question so pointedly before. She replied, “your name is so feminine. Surely you don’t go by that name all the time? You must have some nickname that people call you, don’t you?” I didn’t. I had lived with that name for nearly half a century, and I had tried on several occasions when younger to change it, but no one took me seriously. I was forced to stick with that name until someone poked me in the brain and made me think for myself. A month later, I went to court, and changed my name legally to the name I now bear. No man gave it to me, no one assigned it to me, I chose it myself, and it is deliberately a non-genderized name. It’s one both girls and boys are given often, and its a name that means something to me. All three names do. I made sure of it. I renamed myself to fit my view of myself. To hell with the rest of you, this is me, not that, was my thinking. But it didn’t settle the gender thing for me. I still wasn’t a girl or a woman of any kind, yet I certainly did NOT want to climb into that man box and attempt to be THAT kind of person. That didn’t feel any more right to me than my assigned gender did. (I must say, tho, had I been offered a pill, pre-puberty, that allowed me to choose, I’d have different plumbing than I do now… Then, I would most CERTAINLY have chosen the other box!)

One of the positive by products of my life as a “none of the above” (the box I wish I could check instead of male or female) is that I’ve managed to break my societal binary training. I’ve managed to develop an awareness of MORE than yes or no: maybe. Maybe I’m not either one of those. Maybe I’m some other kind of human, not just the run of the mill bipedal humanoid. Maybe the aliens DID leave me here, which I sincerely thought, growing up in the Star Trek years (yeah, the original one, kids…). But MAYBE became more than just a question. It represented a whole other possibility, a hugely undiscovered possibility: the THIRD way. More than left or right: maybe there’s a middle, for example. More than on or off, maybe there’s another setting (sleep mode on pcs). More than a binary world, maybe there IS a world in which people CHOOSE how they present themselves to others, rather than let others tell them how to present properly. Two words sum it up: Picture day. That was the worst day of the year for me. No matter what, I had to leave the house frilled beyond belief by a beloved aunt whose fantasies of having a hair salon were squashed all over her nieces’ heads whether they liked it or not. There are maybe 3 of the 12 photos of my scholastic career in which I resemble the person I actually am, and they are the ones my parents hid and DIDN’T show others. Nice shaming technique then, but I know now they were merely showing their own binary training. Those were pictures of a none of the above person, and that was just not an acceptable presentation. Took me nearly 40 years to get over some of this.

Why do I share this now and in such a potentially public way? Because that is the third way. I will not shoehorn myself into a false personage just to make others comfy, nor will I rub their faces in it (by revealing details about my family — my story is mine, theirs is not). I’m not saying this to make those who fit nicely in their assigned boxes feel bad; I’m saying it so they know they’re lucky to fit the assigned box so nicely, and to be careful for those who do not. I’m not trying to make my parents feel bad; my mother, who passed on some years ago, already knows what she needs to know, and my father and I are working on things. The trouble is, he’s no longer the person who did those weird things to me when I was a child. He’s a different person, too. If I have the right (in fact, the responsibility) to show myself truly for who I am, then I do NOT have the right to deny my father the same. He’s grown, and changed, and in fact, was injured in the incident that surrounded my mother’s death, and he just is not the same person he was before that event. I have no right to influence his world in a negative way, as he had no right to do so with me. But I like to think that if he were an adult father of three today he would do things differently than he did in the 60s in Texas. I think we’d landed on the moon before he really got over Kennedy’s death happening in Texas. It’s not that Kennedy died. It’s not that Kennedy was assassinated. It’s that he was assassinated in TEXAS that upset my father. Real wild set of priorities that man had. But “had” is the operative word. That man is gone, and a tired old geezer sits in his shoes, wondering how to make sense of his eldest child. I cannot let that geezer go unloved into the dark. That tired old man made me who I am today, taught me the values I hold dear, gave me true skills to challenge the world and conquer it with. I have to find a third way to deal with him.

So, J, if you’re still with me, there IS a third way for you as well. The things that get you, the buttons that get pushed, those are the things that propel you onto the “third way” path. What does that mean? I don’t know. It’s your life. It’s your challenge. I just know for a fact that you have more than two alternatives. There IS more than off and on. What that looks like for you, J, for your family, for you, my readers, that’s YOUR path to travel. I assure you, no matter how wild the path, it is YOURS to travel and you alone are in charge. Generally, we are born alone, we die alone, and we alone are responsible for much of what happens along the way. That’s GOOD news. Maybe it feels kinda weird now, but it will lead you to a better place, if you walk with courage in the direction YOU feel led to follow. Good luck to all of you fellow travellers. Please share with me if you feel so inclined. If not, find someone else to read. I’m not the only one who’s spilling their guts on a blog: go find somebody inspiring to you, whatever that means. I hope you continue to read my blog, to find out what my third ways have been, but if not, go in peace and be healthy.

For those interested, I recently learned the difference between combusting and vaping plant matter. If you are a chronic sufferer of some health issue and have medical marijuana available to you, or if you want to leave the damaging part of smoking cigarettes behind, please check out my second blog: vaping4life.wordpress.com. I’ve had profound realizations since I began that path, and I want to share them separately from my own experience. So if you want to learn how to vape and what that means to your supplies of precious expensive mmj, or you want to stop paying the large tobacco companies for free cancer and expensive cigarettes, join me there to find out how to have fun and save money with vaping. Thanks for reading, and I’ll be back as soon as I can with more about the challenges of maybe and finding that third way. Or something. Who knows? I don’t yet. When I do, you’ll read it. Thanks for sticking with me so far.

Just figuring this out

I’m new to blogging. Kinda hard to believe that a gaming pc builder with a 30 year history of writing, teaching writing, biz coaching, and pc work of a number of kinds would find a blog challenging, but hey. Meet me.

I have an agenda with this blog. I’m disabled, so I have a lot of time on my hands. I spend it learning. Most recently, I have learned to vaporize my medical marijuana instead of combusting it. This now occupies a great deal of my interest. It’s the perfect hobby: lots of parts cheap to buy and it saves me money on meds. Plus, as I will be revealing, there are 60+ reasons why a person should be vaping instead of combusting.

I’ve also become a member of the electric car community with my golf cart. It’s been a learning curve on its own, and I intend to share that here. It’s actually very easy to transfer a good deal of your travel to a neighborhood electric vehicle of some sort. The key is, in order to just get in and drive, like in a regular car, you have to automate a couple of the steps of golf cart care. That’s something I intend to share.

I’m certain at some point in time I will go all gooey about a pc game. I’m pretty sure I will be sharing some stuff that has quite literally made me who I am today, whether anyone wants to read it or not. I got some stuff to spill. Kind of exciting. If I can only figure out the interface to this system, I will certainly have more than a few things to share. I invite you to come back every week or so as I explore this new way to share. Thanks for reading this, and I’ll see you soon with info on my current obsession, whatever that may be.