Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?
This is the sign that is over the front door of Aileen's and my house, our home, going OUT. Meaning that when someone leaves our house they are going into the ACTUAL Mental Ward.

I've always felt that way. When it is considered how much ugliness and killing and hatred there is in the world today, it actually makes perfect sense that this sign is over the door going out of the house.

Because that's where the real mental ward is.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Springboard

It's amazing how a little meditation really does bring clarity.  To begin with this morning my voice wasn't really where it needed to be in order to use my speech program effectively.  So naturally my speech program didn't work very well.  And I had lots of typographical errors.  But in reality I was still reeling from coming to terms with the fact that Aileen was actually dying in 1991 and that nobody ever knew.  Including myself.  All I knew was that something was wrong.  But Aileen was the kind of person that just would never come forward and say what was really going on with her unless she thought that it would do some good.  So obviously she felt that it would not have done in the good to tell anyone.

And that, coupled with the fact that I actually thought that the mortgage was going to be paid off this month basically was enough to just squirrel my thinking for a while.  What I mean by squirrel my thinking is that it just basically twisted my mind around.  So I tried to deal with my demons the best way that I could.  I don't really know how well I did.  But I've always felt that the one place I could actually work it out in my brain was by writing it down.  That always worked and it seemed to have worked again.

I suppose under some circumstances.  If I look back at what I wrote this morning that might be an example of my feeling sorry for myself.  But if I say that another part of me thinks that I actually might be expedient that I might be simply trying to apply some quick and easy answer to the way my mood was going.  I think the better way of explaining things is that I was simply going through a slight bit of turmoil.

The one thing I have learned over all the years of dealing with various types of mental illness that I have gone through and that I still experience to some degree, is that if I close my eyes and simply rest for a while, things tend to seem a bit more clear.  And so it has happened, once again.

Because the reality is, whether I like it or not, life is really what you make it.  So whether I like it or not, my life is exactly what has happened as a result of my own choices.  Just like anyone else's.  And if I feel badly for my choices, then in reality I would feel bad about being chosen either by life for my choices or by God, to be the one who was actually given a really fantastic honor.  The honor of standing by Aileen as she was in fact facing that ultimate issue that all of us face.

And like I have always found all through my life, and I'm not sure why.  When I close my eyes and rest for a while, possibly doing some meditation.  When I come out.  Or, back to the surface, things always seem clearer.  And that's just what happened.

So I can either feel really bad about everything that has happened in my life, which is extremely unproductive, and will get me nowhere.  Or, I can do exactly what I have always done, which is to grit my teeth, let my feet a bit firmly, and keep moving on.  And that's exactly what I'm going to do.

In reality, again, what I have learned from PTSD, is that when you have any kind of flashback, or series of flashbacks, it generally takes you a certain amount of days in order to finally find your footing again.  And I'm not sure it matters what it was that basically knocked me off my feet.  But I've been through this so many times before, that I'm somewhat used to it.  So I have brushed myself off.  And I have gotten back on my feet.  And now I will move on.

In actuality, it is probably absolutely imperative that I separated from Claude and Evelyn.  And I have read in the past, where someone who has lost a spouse, actually does need to separate from the relatives of the spouse they have lost.  Part of the reason is because the continued association with the spouses, relatives basically brings up a lot of the old baggage associated with the spouses passing.  So in a certain number of cases where a spouse will die.  The surviving spouse will actually have to separate from the spouses, family in order to be able to gain their footing and to move forward.

Now it's really remarkable.  My horoscope actually predicted all of this in what it had to report for today.  I have said in the past, either the person doing the horoscope knows me personally.  Or they are pretty darn accurate.  Because they were right.  They said there was going to be a separation today.  And that the separation would end up causing a certain amount of hurt feelings.  In that one statement.  They were right.  But that wasn't the impetus for my PTSD episode.  I really think that the impetus was recalling some memories that came to the surface, that I was not able to associate, when I first watched the movie, busting loose.  Busting loose, the movie, with Richard Pryor.

I even said when I first started watching that film, that I felt that there were some memories coming to the surface.  That I wasn't able to associate.  And I remember reading, as I have looked back over my Journal, that I said this was probably going to create a certain amount of time of inbalance.  And I was right.  So I started writing down my thoughts and keeping track of what was going on.  Which as I said, has always been one of the best thing is I could do.  And so for a while, I was basically stumbling in the dark.  Bumping into trees.  Not really sure how to keep going.  Allowing the fears of my life to dominate my thinking.  I not remembering one of the most important things I have always held inside of me.  That life is really a gift.  Every single day is a gift.

Life is meant to be used.  Life is meant to be lived.  So finally, after a number of days, my mood got to where it was this morning.  Where I really, I guess, was about as low as I could go.  And that's good.  Because when you go that low.  The only direction left, is up.  And that's a really good thing.  Because now I'm back on my feet.  And some rather interesting things came to the surface.  Like how I was afraid of success.  That really makes a lot of sense.  Because in talking to a few friends, I am not alone in that feeling.  It's always a lot easier to fail than it is to succeed.  But then in reality, in one way of speaking, I am succeeding.  Because I keep moving forward.

Generally when I come out of one of these time frames where some memories from the past comes up and basically knocked me on the ground.  When I finally get back to my feet.  I am really amazed.  I'm amazed that anything could knocked me off my feet like that.  But so what?  There's no harm in falling down or getting knocked off your feet.  There is only shame if you don't get back up.  And I always get back up.  I always have.  And I always will.

In reality the last several days seem almost like years.  They really do.  And who knows.  Maybe I have been walking around in circles for the last few years.  But I don't think any of the negative comments that I dare others might make about my journey or my behavior are going to be productive in any way.  I think as I said, that the best thing I can do, is to plant my feet.  Put 1 foot in front of the other, and see exactly where my journey leads next.

I suppose there are a number of things that people have been able to count on me for throughout my life, even though one of those things may not have been that I would ever really be fantastically successful.  I think that one of the things people have always counted on, is that no matter how many times I would get knocked off my feet, I would always get back up.  And in point of fact, Aileen, my darling Aileen, would even say something along those lines.  She would remark and say that I sometimes look like the Energizer Bunny.  That I just keep going.

So it's a really good thing that God placed me in Aileen's life, and her life in mind.  Because doing so not only gave me so much amazing experience and education.  But doing so also put me next to her when she needed someone so desperately.  I am really honored to have been that person.  And I know she is still here with me.  And I know that what's really important.  Now is to do exactly what she would have wanted me to do.  Live well.

So I'm back on my horse, ladies and gentlemen.  And that means I'm going to move forward.  I still think it's a really good idea that I have blocked off the house.  Because it really does provide a very comforting and extremely quiet environment.  An environment where I am able to collect my thoughts a lot easier without all the extraneous stimuli of daily life outside of this house.  And whether I like it or not, I am on a real spiritual journey.  I am probably on the most important spiritual journey I have ever done or ever taken in my entire life.

So instead of feeling sorry for myself, which I have done one heck of a lot over the last several weeks and months.  Now I'm going to move forward.  I'm going to do exactly what Aileen wanted me to do.  I'm going to do exactly what God wants me to do.  I'm going to do exactly what my friends depend on me to do.  Which is to move forward.  To be that stalwart character.  To be that friend.  Not only to others.  But to try and be that friend to me.  That's the real challenge.  To like myself.  To like myself.  In spite of all of the naysayers who possibly don't like me at all.  To find something good in myself for my still being alive.  To realize that I am not an alcoholic.  I don't drink.  I don't take drugs.  I'm not a drug addict.  I have been maintaining this house.  I have been moving forward.  And I am embracing that other side of myself, even though doing so probably is creating a certain degree of social abnormality.  But so what?  Things could be a lot worse.  And the one thing I don't do.  And never have done.  Is give up.

I know it's going to sound really hokey.  But in my life I have seen the power of prayer.  Or you might call it the power of meditation.  Or you might even call it the power of focused attention.  But I have seen it work a number of times in my life.  I have actually seen it work a lot more than people might ever believe.

When I got out of the hospital in 1969, I was determined, one way or the other, to do my best, Ken never allow the kind of tragedy that I saw to ever happen again, in my presence.  So I began being a friend.  Wherever I could.  I suppose if I think back, I actually began becoming a friend to others with my very good friend Richard, who died in 1966.  From emphysema.  Of course when he was dying.  He warned me that his choices were done but that mine were just beginning.  I always found that remark really strange.  Because I wondered how the new.  Here I am years and years later saying the same thing come true with my darling Aileen.  When I told her that she would not be with me.  She answered, that I didn't know that would be true.  Like she felt she was going to be with me, and that she knew she would.

So, I have stumbled out of the woods once again.  And that is a good thing.  It's always a good thing.  When you walk out of the forest and you are still on your feet.  Of course I learned when I began climbing in the mountains when I was only eight years old.  That if you ever got lost in the woods on the side of a mountain.  All you had to do was walk down.  Because if you walked down.  You would find the way home.  But when the forest is flat and you are right smack dab in the middle of that forest, trying to find your direction can definitely be challenging.  Not impossible.  But definitely challenging.

So for the last few weeks I have sort of let some things in the house.  Go.  Nothing major.  But the cats need to be brushed.  Which I'm going to do this weekend.  And I need to get back on my horse.  If I'm going to embraced his other side of me then I need to do so with both of my feet firmly planted.  I need to do so without having any hesitancy of conviction.  That's the best way to get anything done.  You grit your teeth.  You put your money down and make that wager.  And then you go forward.  And you let the cards fall where they may.

It's sort of similar to those memories I have of myself when I was really very young and extremely small.  Meaning short in size.  Where, when I first began having major PTSD episodes.  I would have horrible nightmares of some of the things that I did without realizing I was actually even doing those things.  And not really even knowing why.  But then I was a kid.  I was a child.  Trying to find my way in a world that just didn't make any sense.  Trying to live my life as a child growing up with two parents who had way too much money and who were extremely alcoholic and not really very open to touching.  My parents were always more concerned with giving someone something.  Then they were with sharing themselves.  Which is why most of the adults in my life who shaped my character really worked my parents at all.  They were amazingly unbelievable people that I met all over this country.  Some people with lots of money.  Some people with only a little money.  And a lot of people with no money at all.

Because it doesn't take money to be a good mentor.  It doesn't take money to be a good friend.  It only takes a rather serious understanding of love.  How to love yourself and to love others.  As one of my friends reminded me before I fell asleep today, they said that I didn't really have much problem saying thank you.  So then I told him this story, from when I was living in Houston, Texas.  And I was actually undergoing care for the same thing.  I am being treated for now.  PTSD and gender dysfunction.

I remember it like it was yesterday.  For a solid year I would go to group.  Or what seemed like a solid year.  And every time I would go to group, someone would give me a compliment.  And I would immediately start off with a couple of sentences trying to sidestep saying thank you.  And in the middle of those sentences everyone would simply wave your hand and brushed me off.  Because of course I was not saying thank you.  Then after several months, I was sitting down at the beginning of group.  And this one lady next to me leaned over and said I looked nice.  That night.  And in the smallest whisper.  In a whisper so small that hardly anyone could hear me, I leaned over to her, and whispered in her year, thank you.

What's remarkable, is that I didn't think anyone could hear me.  But the moment I said those words, everyone in the entire group stood up and began applauding me.  Like I had finished some huge race.  But the reality was, that for years I had not really been able to say thank you.  And yet somehow through the group experience, I finally learned how to do so.  I finally learned how to like myself enough to at least say thank you.

I never forgot that.  And a lot of times that one memory has really sustained me.  So here I am.  It's 2013.  Aileen has been dead now for almost 2 1/2 years.  I think that's just about enough time.  I think that's just about enough time for me to be wandering in the darkness.  Not knowing what the hell to do.  I think that's just about enough time for me to finally put the last piece of scotch tape over whatever piece of broken part of myself needed to be fixed.

So now I will go on.  I've always said, God doesn't mind if we fail or if we fall down.  God doesn't mind if we get lost or bump into trees.  I've always felt God expects that.  But I know one thing for sure.  I've never believed God really liked it when we just gave up.  I've never believed God like quitters.  I don't believe anyone respects anyone who simply gives up.  Not unless there are unbelievably mitigating circumstances.  And I don't have those circumstances.  So my life's been tough.  Big deal.  My life can't compare with any of the real tragedy that so many other people are going through every single second.  That's why I became involved with human rights in the first place.  And of all I can do is feel sorry for myself, then I will never get anything done.  And getting things done, doesn't mean I have to be the best.  It doesn't mean I have to be a success.  It only means I have to try.  It only means I have to make the attempt.  That also is one of the things that I have always lived by.  But it doesn't matter whether you actually get what you want.  Because if you focus only on getting what you want and never focus on the attempt.  You are making.  Then more times than not, you end up failing.  But if you focus on your attempt.  If you focus on what you need to do to make that attempt.  You just end up doing better.

So I know what needs to be done.  I don't need anyone to tell me that.  I can see what needs to be done.  I can see what needs to be done with myself.  I can see what needs to be done in the world.  I can see what needs to be done in my life.  And while I might not be able to fix hardly anything in this world.  I sure the hell can fix a lot of things in my life.  And I think I already have.

So the world doesn't like me being a transgendered female.  My attitude is, get used to disappointment.  Because I'm going to be a transgendered female.  Because that is the other part of myself.  If I deny my sister.  I then deny my mother.  And I'm not going to do that.  There is a part of me that actually believes if my sister would have survived.  She would have been absolutely remarkable.  I don't know how I know that.  Perhaps it's because she's part of me.  And ever since I found out that I really was one of twins.  And that my twin did not survive.  I've always felt that the other one.  The one who didn't make it.  Probably did not make it because God had other plans.  But that also, they didn't make it because probably God had plans for me as well.  Say I'm grateful to my sister doesn't even come close.  To say I'm grateful to my birth mother who was dying when I was being born.  There just aren't words.

They are both heroes to me.  They always have been.  And they would not want me to give up.  That's not why they died.  And it's not why my darling Aileen died either.  They are depending on me to keep going.  They are depending on me to do well.  They are depending on me to live well.  They are depending on me to keep going.  And if I let them down.  If I give up.  Well, that's not going to happen.  Not now.  Not ever.  I might fall on my rear.  But I have always been able to get up.  Just like I am now.  And when I do, I have one heck of a lot of determination.  So I know what needs to be done.  That's all there is to it.  I know exactly what has to be done.  And I'm doing it.  I've started a bank account.  I've got everything pretty well set.  The bills are being paid.  Life is moving forward.  And so will I

Like I said, sealing off the house was really a very good idea.  I have illuminated every single draft in the house.  And that's a really good thing.  Because it's going to save me a lot of money.  But the other thing, is that as I said, I'm not going to be bombarded with all of the extraneous stimuli that go on every day in this neighborhood so that I can actually focus on what needs to be done.  Moving forward.  Doing the human rights work that Aileen and I did shoulder to shoulder for 18 years.  And to be a voice, however, smaller insignificant in this world, on the side of the greater good.  And that's just what I'm going to do.

At least until the next time some memory starts creeping out of my past 10.  Not me off my feet.  And then I will probably make just as much of a fool of myself as I have over the past weeks.  Then I will fall down.  Then I will rest.  Then I will get determined.  Then I will get back on my feet and continue moving forward.  Life is meant to be used.  Life is meant to be lived.  There is no correct answer.  No two lives are exactly the same.  And if we try to judge one life against another that's never going to work.  The goods even know one thing may have been done by someone before.  It has never ever been done before by that specific person.  Every time every single person does anything in this world they are actually doing it for the very first time, as themselves.  And that's the really remarkable thing.

So I feel like one heck of a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.  And I feel like I've got the wind at my back.  And as I always said to my darling Aileen.  When she wanted to know how much I loved her.  All I told her was, watch me.  Watch what I do.  There be my love.

As to my voice.  Well, there's not a lot I can do about that.  I do have a very slight speech impediment.  It's a very small lisp.  It is actually as a result of my mother putting a kind of barbed wire appliance in the roof of my mouth, which was designed to stop me from sucking my thumb.  But the only thing that happened was that every time I start my thumb in my mouth and I pulled my thumb out my whole hand would end up bleeding.  And so it only took two or three times of that happening before the doctor at the hospital told my mother if she brought me in that way again.  He would make sure it never happened again.  So the appliance was taken out of my mouth.  But by that time I had a very slight cleft pallet.  It's very slight.  But if I don't talk a little more clearly.  I have this very slight lisp.  But it's just enough to make my speech program goal little sideways.  And when I'm really tired.  Like I was this morning, well the result is exactly how my Journal entry came out earlier.  With lots of typographical errors.  I know I can do better than that.  I have done better than that.  And I will do better than that.

It's a brand-new day.  Even though it is actually 10 min. before 3 PM.  It's still a brand-new day.  Because waking up after resting as I did, I feel that a whole lot of baggage has just been thrown off the train.  Baggage that shouldn't have been on the train in the first place.  But that's the way life is.  You get on board and the train starts moving out and you think you are going in one direction.  And then suddenly you end up in a completely different place.  That's the adventure.  That's life.  So the challenge is, regardless where you end up, being able to keep moving forward.  And that's something, somehow or other, I seem to be pretty good at.

So now I'm going to go ahead and finally do my e-mail and petitions.  And then of course tonight, I have to take the trash out.  And then tomorrow sort of starts the weekend.  Well it's Friday.  Which is almost as good.  And I'm going to go ahead and take care of stuff around this house and take care of myself.  And once again move forward.

In advance of now having a bank account.  I have reduced certain costs that I was paying for such as I have lowered my DirecTV bill slightly.  I have lowered my phone bill slightly.  And the other bills are already fairly well with in-line.  So everything should move forward just about on track.  I'm the one who's running my life.  No one else.  So if the train goes off track.  There's no one else to blame.  Because I'm the one running this training.  And if it goes off track that either I wasn't paying attention or I wasn't doing my job.

So I know it has to be done.  And that's what I will do.  This Journal really is becoming exactly what I was hoping.  Not only is it the Journal that my darling Aileen wanted to do with me, but never got the chance to do so.  And not only is it the continuation of the human rights efforts that Aileen and I put forth together shoulder to shoulder for 18 years.  But it is also that testimony before me and my own soul and before God as I made my way through these years of my life.  The last years.  I will be here in the world.  However, many years.  Those may be.

And I know I'm not going to be one of those statistics.  That won't happen.  The statistics I'm talking about.  Of course are that 75% of the people who are my age.  You lose a spouse die within seven years.  I'm not going to die within seven years.  Because if I were I have a heck of a lot more signals going on in my body.  Then I do now.  And I'm just way too healthy.  Besides God and I talk all the time.  If God was going to go ahead and call me home in the next few years.  He'd be making some sort of noise along those lines right now.  And he's not.  So I know what has to be done.  No one has to tell me.  All my life people have come and gone in and out of my life.  And often times when they would leave.  I would just be completely destroyed.  I would miss them so bad and I would never know exactly how I was going to do without them in my life.  But I've also learned that when someone comes in your life or goes out of your life that even though there may not be a real visible reason at the time there generally are very good reasons for that happening.  So now I move forward.  And I will be a good neighbor to this neighborhood.  And I will be a good citizen in this great nation that we call America.  And I will be a good world citizen to all of my fellow world citizens.  I will be a voice for the greater good.  I will do my best to speak out for all of the millions and millions of amazing men, women and children in this world who oftentimes don't have the opportunity and many times don't have the ability to speak out for themselves.  And I will do so simply because in my heart and in my mind and soul.  It makes absolutely sense in every aspect to do exactly that.  It's the correct thing for me to do.  That's the bottom line.

I guess I might feel like saying I'm sorry.  But there's no point in that.  Why should I be sorry for stumbling in the dark?  Everyone stumbles in the dark.  Everybody stumbles in their own life.  As I'm writing these words.  There are millions of families in the United States who are losing their homes.  There are millions others who are having a hard time paying for their homes.  And there are even more millions who don't even have a home.  So I'm going to count my blessings I'm going to be grateful to God, I'm going to be grateful to life itself.  I'm going to honor my mother and my sister and my darling Aileen.  I'm going to honor all of those amazing and wonderful friendships I made in my life at southern Arizona school and Fort Lewis college and Case Western Reserve and all the other places I traveled.  Because I always did try to be a good human being.  I always tried to be a good person.  And whether I was successful or not I'm not the one to ask.  But I do know I tried.  Just like I'm trying now.  And I also know, I don't give up.  No matter what I never give up.  Not unless I'm absolutely forced to.  And that hasn't happened yet.  I haven't been pushed into that kind of a corner.

I'm just sitting here shaking my head.  When I think I'm actually moving forward.  I'm actually falling on my rear.  I am amazed.  I didn't see what was going on.  But that's the way with PTSD.  When a flashback starts happening, you don't really have any clue.  And a flashback ends up becoming so real that you can't really tell the difference between a flashback and reality.  It's not that you're psychotic.  Because that's not the case.  You simply having a flashback from an earlier time in your life that is so real that he grabs hold of your mind.  So completely that you become completely and totally confused.  You're not sure which one of the views you are looking at is the real one.

And as I've said before, I have learned over the years that one of the best things you can do when that happens it to take a deep breath lie down for a little while and close your eyes and meditate or simply go to sleep.  Let your subconscious do what it knows how to do best.  Sort and process that information.  And throughout the junk and keep the stuff that's important.  That's one of the main functions of the subconscious.  That's basically almost all it does.  Because every single thing that you experienced the subconscious initially accepts as true.  And it's job is to simply throw out the stuff.  It discovers is not true.  And to keep the stuff that is true.  Which is why I say, I do most of my real discovery and processing of information when I am asleep.

It's like for the first time in almost 2 months I really feel like I can breathe clearly.  He at least until the next time I get knocked on the ground.  But so what?  Knocked me down.  I don't care.  Knocked me down as much as you want.  I'll always get up.  At least until I'm dead.  And I'm not dead yet.  Not now and not very soon.  God's not done with me.  And I'm not done with me.

One thing I've learned from going through this long PTSD episode is how really silly it is to get angry about some of the things I've gotten angry about over the past several months.  I see more clearly than I ever have.  How silly it is to get so angry.  The world is full of angry.  Why should I had any of my anger to a world that is already overflowing with anger?  That's not what I'm going to do.  I've never been concerned with answers as much as I have been concerned with asking better questions.  And that's what I'm going to do.  Continue task better questions.  Ask better questions of myself.  And ask better questions of anyone who chooses to read what I write.  Because by doing that.  By asking those better questions.  There is where the real education starts.  You never learn anything when you get an answer.  You always learn something new.  When you ask a better question.  The answer simply gives you an excuse.  Maybe not to go further.  But the question always challenges you to do so.

That's why I have always said, if you give someone an answer, you maintain their stupidity.  But if you give someone a question, you celebrate their intelligence.  Because if you give someone an answer, you take control of both sides of the conversation and pretty much direct where their thinking is going to go.  But if you ask a better question, you give control of that conversation over to the other person.  Because by asking them a better question.  You challenges them to find the answer to that question.  Whatever answer is going to make sense to them.

So it's questions that I'm all about.  That's what I've always been all about.  And it's about damn time.  I remember that.  That's the long and short of it.

So I say thank you to all of my good friends on Facebook and on Google.  And here in my Journal who read me.  I say thank you to all of my friends I have known all over this country.  I say thank you to my friends at southern Arizona school and Fort Lewis and all the other places I have lived.  I'm really grateful I have known all of you.  I am the richer for having known all of you.  I am really really a very wealthy person.  It's not money I'm talking about.  It's life.

From my heart to years.  As always, thank you very much for listening.