Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Good-Bye 2020...


Good-bye 2020…

…and for the most part, good fucking riddance!

[Sighs of relief all around. Breathe out the old and evil, breathe in the new and hopeful…]

It has been ages since I sat down and decided to write for my Blog. Some of that was due to the brain sucking power of Facebook, some to circumstance and depression. Chronic pain added a great deal to “circumstance and depression”. But I also, with my ADHD, I’m told that chronic procrastination and an inability to endure tedium are fairly common, and I have those in spades! Even without back pain and joint problems from Arthritis or a resurgence of Dysphoria-like thinking regarding my age or being listed in my medical records as “Morbidly Obese”. I moved to Naperville, Illinois in 2015 to care give for my elderly mother, who passed in 2017.

Then in November I came down with a case of Covid-19, 16 days of Hell! Until then I had thought my pain levels to be extreme at times and often could find no motivation to do anything but sleep, so even the ongoing reinvention of myself that started with Transition and everything stalled—even personal hygiene had slipped because of being so out of sync with who I discovered myself to be in Transition, and then Covid taught me that I did not know pain or helplessness at all and gave me a preview. The nasty headache would not quit and in the worst days that pain was so bad I could not see clearly, everything seemed dim and not quite solid and the pain got so intense that I could think of nothing but it. It hurt so bad I seriously thought of killing myself, but simply could not do anything about those urges because I was too weak and forgetful, something I am very grateful for now. My waking world was reduced to searing pain, worse even than when I had hydrazine poisoning in 1988, and I became so weak and fatigued that I literally could not stand up or hold myself upright without leaning on the walls or furniture. Going to the toilet became a terrible struggle and the brain fog and then confusion and forgetting what I was doing even as I was doing it. That scared the shit out of me and humbled me and put my general (non-covid) state of decline into a new perspective, I saw what the end result of allowing this decline to continue would be. I had just cared for my mother as she was dying and that was a grueling affair physically and emotionally and so the last couple years I have just been floating and letting things slide. She was 93, but generally in good health, but she had given up on the World and her beloved Democracy because it had become such a nasty and deception filled shit-storm and she just did not want to exist anymore because it was all so confusing, and living was so tedious and frustrating being so weak and having to depend on me for everything. Here I am in my mid 60’s I just “celebrated” turning 66 myself but was already very much falling into the same condition as my mother who was 93 when she passed. (For the moment I am not going to rage about politics, though I really want to and I will soon enough).  No, I do not celebrate getting old and etc., especially in capitalist America.  I don’t think there is anything much graceful in it to celebrate!... but now I see it differently. Covid showed me I want to live and do things—like travel and be able to schlep my newly upgraded photo gear with me into scenic places beyond just highway rest stops or my local river and prairie preserves so I can get the good shots too—and so I must change my attitude! Dammit, I am NOT done yet

I must follow my own advice and be my own hero, again. I can still dislike aging, but I can’t let it make me hopeless and I have to fight the encroaching decrepitude with all the strength I can muster! Perhaps that is the gracefulness and the Gold in our “golden years” – ask me in 10 more years and I may have an answer about that. Even if it isn’t so and years being golden are just a nostalgic pipe-dream of a raving lunatic, I still have to walk through them and press on to the source and center of my hopes and dreams that finally broke free from crushing captivity in 2006 when Eva came fully out and Evan never went home again. So, Covid left me totally drained of energy, took the last bits of physical fitness I still had after my long slump and showed me what real pain was. I was like an old garbage bag emptied of everything that made me, well, me! My mom was that way at 93 as her body failed her and congestive heart failure and dementia took her. Not that I want to compare her to that empty sack, because up to the end she was by no means an empty sack – she remained very sharp until the final week or so, but that image spoke volumes to me. Mom had an excuse – she WAS old! Me, I don’t have an excuse, not really, not yet, not for the long haul anyway. Individual days for time-out and self-care are a different story, but I am getting my medical care back on track in 2021. I found a trans specialist I will be seeing out here in Suburban Chicagoland and a major medical provider that has gone all in on supporting LGBTQ+ folks (Northwestern Medicine). I’m hoping they can get me on track to find relief in my lower back, knees, ankles and lately shoulders too. This is the fight I face this year – getting into some sort of fitness again even though the process will hurt. But I’m worth it and I need to do this if I am to ever reach my goal of GRS. And you, dear readers, are worth it too if you have found yourselves in similar straits. Don’t give up!

Yeah, I have some shit to deal with and fight daily, but we all have something! But I still have stuff to do and if mom is an example of how long most in my family live then I figure I should have 20 more good years before I get to give into folding of the hands and lengthening time to sleep.

There is so much else to catch up on since leaving Riverside, feeling betrayed by some folks in the Trans/LGBTQ community there. The feeling of being kicked in the teeth after trying so hard to advocate for equality and trans acceptance still is present in these memories. It sent me into an emotional nose dive in my first years out here too because I tried to remain as aloof as possible to avoid being hurt again, this time by people and things I had no experience with previously. Even so I found myself hosting a Meetup group and as such one local newspaper latched on to me as sort of a local LGBTQ spokesperson around the time of the Pulse Massacre in Florida. Any time something LGBTQ newsworthy happened I got a phone call, and was thrust into things before I was ready. Though I suppose these things were ready for me to get off my fairly substantial butt. And National politics were impossible for me to pass by and I have been rather outspoken and lost several long-time friends. But I am gradually working back into doing the work that I do love again out here though the social environment out here is way different than the Inland Empire was and I am glad to have taken things slow. I did manage to get out to Washington DC in 2019 for the big Trans Visibility march. Though that has been the last march or protest I have been able to endure because a few days later my Left knee fell apart, Arthritis had stripped the cartilage out and suddenly I was in agony and could barely walk and had to alter and cancel further plans for the East Coast. I have had stem-cell treatment that worked to get me through this year but it is getting bad again, so that needs more work too.

 I am one of the original founding Board members of Naper Pride, Inc. and we are slowly gaining a good reputation in town with the City Council and Police.  2020’s pride fest was cancelled by Covid and so much of this year has been regrouping and team building for our core leadership and getting ready to make an even bigger festival in September a reality. I was blessed to Preach in 2019 on Pentecost Sunday, June 9th at my Church here in town (First Congregational, UCC, Naperville), the Pastor was to be out of town that day and asked me if I would be willing to fill in. That was also the day of a big 2nd annual Pride Parade in our neighboring city of Aurora, IL and so after the Service many of us from Church rushed over there and marched in the parade. My sermon Pride and Pentecost was amazingly well received, as I equated the Spirit of Pentecost with the Spirit of Pride in being who we are openly and unashamedly.

Hopefully the link here will take you to the video on that Sermon. It has taken me this long to get the tools and learn how to edit together bits from different sources so it is more presentable than just a phone video.

Other newish stuff… I am working with a young Writer just graduated from the local College here in town on a book about my life and some of the very human and very odd and conflicted folks I have encountered up to this point. My dark days of drug abuse, life abuse and hopelessness will be in there, and my transition and reinvention of self and more details about activism and being hurt deeply by a community leader and my move to the Midwest and some of my travels too. Even my struggle with pain, depression and aging.  And I expect I have lost just about all the followers I had before my move and will have to get out and noticed once again because I know I will have more to say going forward. I must say that I am a bit daunted by the idea of putting my past life out into the public eye in more depth than ever before, and hearing the negative voices that will no doubt have horrible things to say, but that fear kept me in my closet for my first 50 years and now it isn’t going to stop me from putting my life out there so that maybe someone else can find strength to be themself openly. If I can help or save just one or two from the anguish that I went thru then I am glad to be out and visible.

Hugs and Blessings,