It’s getting to the point where I’m no fun anymore/ I am sorry/Sometimes it hurts so badly I must cry out loud/ I am lonely/…tearing yourself away from me now you are free and I am crying/does not mean I don’t love you I do and that’s forever
Suite: Judy Blue Eyes Crosby, Stills, & Nash
There are some days my depression really kicks me in the rear. Usually it’s when my grief over comes me and it is just too much to bear . Today is one of those days.
This evening I went to Linda’s and my favorite restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Billy’s Stone Crab sits on the intercostal waterway and is a beautiful spot to watch the sun go down. I thought it might be nice to relive a memory. When I walked into Billy’s this evening, I asked for a table from the nice looking man standing at the door. He said welcome back, which was kind of strange since I hadn’t been here in two years, maybe he had me confused with another 6 foot tall trans woman. He said, “do you want to sit outside?” They hadn’t gotten busy and all of the tables outside were free so I said, “yes.” He took me to the same table that Linda and I had sat at in 2014 and 2015 for our annual February visit to Southern Florida. I said that’s funny this is the exact same table that I’ve sat at the last two times I came here. He said I know I waited on you. He said it was you and a very beautiful lady who told me she was celebrating her birthday and also battling terminal cancer. He said her telling me her story so bravely touched me deeply, and I thought you were both very brave. I was extremely touched and slightly embarrassed that I did not remember him. I have to agree that Linda was brave the way she battled cancer for 18 months before losing her fight, but I had to disagree with him that I am not that brave and actually hate it when someone says that to me because I feel like a phony. I am not brave.
I didn’t expect to cry again tonight, it made the third time today, as my daughter and I had already both cried earlier in the afternoon over text messages. But here I was crying as I tried to go to sleep, so I got up and started writing. Billy’s was the last place in Florida that Linda and I had dinner together two years ago this week. The very nice young man remembering us brought me to tears for the second time today, right before I ate.Maybe he could tell that we were fighting for each other. I was ashamed that I was sitting there feeling sorry for myself at dinner and again tonight but I feel so lost.
Not too long ago I got lost in downtown Pittsburgh. Getting frustrated because I thought I knew where I was going, but I obviously did not, I blurted out, “Dang(or close to it)I’m so lost.” My granddaughter riding in the backseat, and who was 3 at the time came back with, “well Poppy(what she called me at the time) if you’re lost then so am I.” She of course was right, she was depending on me to know the way. The feeling of being physcially lost can cause great anxiety. Being metaphorically lost is lot worse. I know that some people see me and they may think that I am brave, like the wait-person at Billy’s. Some may think that I am wise because I get ask to speak on transgender issues or because of my age. To tell the truth, I don’t even know where the heck I’m going in life. Maybe I am a phony. I am afraid that there might be someone out there that thinks that I am someone to look to for guidance, but I just can’t give directions because I am too lost myself to help anyone else. I do not have the answers.
I have so many unanswered questions about my own life, how in the world could I possibly have the answers for anybody else’s life. I’ve had a difficult time navigating life without my personal GPS. Linda always seem to have the answers to my difficult questions, she had focus, determination, and most of the time a plan. She certainly always knew what direction to go in. If I was lost and she would help get me back on track, she would often say , “you would have found the answer on your own anyway.” She knew just what to say to make me feel better. I miss that so much. All I could offer her in return was my undying love because she very rarely needed direction.
Before I began my coming out 4 years ago as my true-self, I knew that I wanted to stop lying and hiding. I really had no idea how to do it. I got lost, side tracked, delayed, and purposely held off several times during my life long quest. I had been in transition my whole life but how was I going to step out from the shaddows ? My family and coming out and medically transitoning were the most important things to me in my life, yet it was often like riding the gas pedal and the brakes at the same time. I’m living as my true-self now, the person I’ve always been, but I really have no idea how I got here. I just knew where I wanted to be. I am sure there are a lot of people in that same boat. They know where they want to be, but they just aren’t sure how to get there. I wish I could tell them the steps,here they are step one, two, and three, but I really don’t know the road here either, I just know I finally got here and I know I couldn’t have done it without Linda.
When I lost Linda a year and half ago to cancer, I battled grief and depression so bad that I really didn’t care if I lived or died. I knew that I loved her and she loved me. I knew that she’d want me to go on living. What I didn’t know was how much I looked to her for guideance. Many times since I have just gone through the motions of living. I try to stay busy to keep from being depressed. I’ve never minded getting involved, volunteering, and working for or supporting causes that help people but I have a hard time with my own life. Yes, and I also try to stay busy so that I don’t hear all of the negativity about being a transgender woman. Maybe it’s a “whistling through the grave yard type of thing. If I stay busy I won’t be scared to death. If people want to take shots at me saying that I am confused or crazy or what ever, they’re going to say those things anyway about me without me having to act like I’m not afraid. So yes, I am affraid.
Maybe I am that “special snowflake,” that awful people like to name call marginalized people. The label that everybody in the world, except me, seems to want to avoid. My life experiences do make me special. Being transgender makes me special. So what? You can’t hurt me with your name calling. As my daughter says, don’t feed the trolls. So I won’t give you the satifaction of listening to your hateful comments.
I am not an expert on gender theory, but I do have opinions and life experiences that are grounded in statistics and facts. I have no regrets about my journey. I have no regrets about who I am. I do not however want people to see my life as some sort of road map for their life. It is not. This is my very unique life and it’s like no one else’s. Any similarities with any one else’s life is purely coincidental. We are like snowflakes indeed.
I know me being out in the public speaking, people hear me, and think I have really got my stuff together. I am not your’s or anyone else’s role model(yech!) there are some great role models out in the world, but not me. If you have met me and like me that’s fine. The only thing that I ask, ” please, just find your own way in the world.” I am lucky I had Linda all of my life to guide me. If you need help, please see a therapist, or get advice from someone who is an expert. Just don’t use me as an example for your own life, you’ll become as lost as I me, and I would hate that for you. I am just fumbling around trying to find my own way because I have no idea which direction to go in. As another song, Deja’ Vu, by Crosby, Stills, and Nash says, “if I had ever been here before I would probably know just what to do. Hey don’t you?
Note: February 28 is Linda’s birthday. We would go to Florida to celebrate her birthday almost every year for the past 25 years, including the last one in 2015 in which she knew she was dying.