I had a long talk with Efrain last night. Things have been stressed lately, with SGS being on the blink and three of my friends potentially out of work in the near future. It by itself isn't making things problematic; I make enough to cover the three of us in the short-term, though I don't like being the only person employed in the family. Neither do Efrain and Jessie. What it does is contribute enough to the cat's stress levels that little things that would ordinally mean nothing or totally get overlooked become more an an issue than they need to be.

We spent several hours talking yesterday evening, and the details of the conversation aren't realy important, but the gist of it is, I think, quite meaningful. Anger doesn't produce. Hatred doesn't fix anything. Being upset at people and harboring grudges don't solve problems; they only contribute to them.

I've been carrying a few grudges for quite a while now. I'm not proud of them, but at the time I lashed out against people who were once my friends, I thought it was the only way I could get through to them that I thought they were doing the wrong things. It didn't stop them. They had either already stopped on their own, or they weren't going to stop just because I tried to withhold my emotions. I didn't do any good to either of us, to any of us.

Joanne, I'm sorry. I know that saying it doesn't make up for what I did, but I hope that, in saying this here, publicly, as I did before, I can start to undo some of the damage I caused. You didn't deserve what I said, and I've taken down the previous entry and made right what didn't need to be changed.

I can't solve your problems. I'm not here as a crutch or even really a guide. I don't have any wisdom to teach. Anything I could say, you'll either learn on your own or you wouldn't understand anyway. I don't think anyone ever really learns from the mistakes of others. We only repeat them in new and exotic ways. I can't stop you from doing what you think is best, but I want you to know that I believe in you, that I support you in what you're doing
and that I still care about you, even if we may not make the same choices. 

I don't want carbon copies of myself echoing everything I do and turning my life into a Socratic dialogue. The ability to disagree with each other without rejecting each other should be a source of strength, not a sore spot. You must live your own life; no-one else can do it for you. When you chose a course of action I thought foolish, I blew up at you and tried through emotional blackmail to take away from you the one thing I should've recognized and respected as sacred: your right to make your own decisions.

I hope you'll forgive me.


This time, I'm writing while I'm awake enough to do so. Jessie's out cold in the cot next to the bed, and I have no idea how much longer I'm going to be awake. I hate being up at such an odd hour, even on vacation, but this time
I think I've earned it, at least in part.

As expected, the orderlies arrived this morning at nine o'clock, and after much last-minute fiddling I was on the gurney and headed to OR reasonably on time. When I arrived, I got to watch two of the nurses picking the hairs out of my scrotal skin with scalpels while the rest of the staff got me positioned up onto the bed. The anaesthesiologist came in, opened up the tube at my shoulder and begin administering the epidural drip, just like last time.

Then the fun and games began. The nurses realized that, in their initial positioning, I was too high up on the bed for them to be able to get my legs into the stirrups, and so they started trying to shift me down further onto the OR bed to make room. Because of my size and unhelped by the fact that I was already losing control of my legs, they simply hefted and tugged me down the length of the bed. Shortly thereafter, a loud crash brought all motion in the OR to a stop. The epidural needle attachment at my shoulder had fallen to the floor and broken. My epidural was stopped. 

The anaesthesiologist came into the room, took one look at the situation, facepalmed and begin measuring out backup dosages. Mostly not awake still because of the hour and the drugs already in my system, I didn't say anything to him at first, and I guess everyone must've thought they had some time to get started, so they did. Then I shifted my leg once, and then the other. For those of you who've ever had an epidural, or any kind of proper anaesthetic, being able to move your own limbs is a Bad Sign, because it means the nerves there aren't asleep. Since I was able to move my legs, this meant I would feel it when they began trying to do anything to me. I attempted to convey this much, but the OR nursing staff was by now too stressed to pay attention to the patient babbling in some incomprehensible foreign language, and I don't speak a word of Thai, so there was no way for me to get my questions answered.

The first time the suture needle pricked me and I felt it, I hissed. The second time I did it again and they asked me if I was in pain. I said, "A little" and they began hurriedly talking amongst themselves, and then the anaesthesioloist put something into my IV line. By the time it occured to me that it was more anaesthetic, I was unconscious.

Unfortunately, apparently nobody told Jessie that this had happened, and so when they brought me out of surgery, instead of leaving in ICU to recover like last time, they wheeled me back into the hospital room so that Jessie could get the full effect of seeing someone waking up from a drug-induced sleep, including the shakes and the mostly-incoherent babbling of someone complaining about being too cold. Needless to say, my mate was not very happy about this. When I did finally regain consciousness—around 17h—and explained what had happened, zie calmed down a lot, but we were still both rather upset over what had occured.

At least the only thing I really have left is one packing change. I don't even have the vacuum tube any more, just the catheter. Hopefully by next Tuesday the surgeon will change my packing, and then by next Friday I should
be able to start looking at return flights.

I'm glad I came here, but I'm getting more eager to go home every day.


So much has changed, and yet so little feels different.

In the last three weeks, the following has all happened:

  1. I moved.
  2. I exchanged a roommate for another mate.
  3. I rekindled a long-dead friendship.
  4. I quit my job at L-3.
  5. I signed an offer letter for a new position.
  6. I finished my therapy.

And yet, after all this, my life doesn't really seem that different. This is what confuses me the most. Almost everything has been upheaved and reordered, and yet it all feels so natural already that it doesn't seem at times as if there were anything new.

The move had been a long time in the making. Texas simply has never been hospitable to me, but there had always been one reason or another to stay. With the offer of a new job, that reason was gone. The friends I had had there are gone. My parents are moving out of state once my mother graduates. I didn't like the climate. I still have people I know there, but they were too far away to make regular visits practical, and I'll still have the chance to go down there and see them. This way, I don't have to return to Tex-Ass once I'm done.

Part of me is sorry to have to have seen Randy leave, but another part is glad she's not living with me any more. When she moved into Jessie's and my apartment back in September of last year, I think we all expected things to
go vastly differently thasn they did. She couldn't get a job with her navy skills because of her psych discharge, which neither of us expected, and then it took her a lot longer to get around to finding a regular job. Then, once
she did, it turned out to be too little too late. She wasn't making enough to make her own rent, and Jessie and I couldn't bring her with us to Pennsylvania.

I say we couldn't. The truth is that we chose not to do so. We could've made room, but she would've likely faced the same problem here, and the apartment into which we moved was smaller than our old one, and already had one occupant, Jessie's and my other mate, Allie. Four people would not have worked in this apartment, and to support herself, she would have needed another roommate with a guaranteed job from day one. That would've meant a fifth person in the apartment designed for two and crowded with three, and it would have been an utterly horrible violation of the lease agreement on top of that.

I did say above that Jessie and I have another mate. Since before my breakup with my previous boyfriend, I had come to the decision/realization/discovery that strict monogamy made very little sense to me. Love, in my opinion, is not a finite resource. I can give all my love to one person and have infinite amounts left over for others. I now have two people with whom I intend to spend my life, and I think we're all three of us the better for it. It does
make sleeping on a queen-size bed together interesting, but that's an easily addressed issue.

A lot of people seem mystified by my having accepted more than one person into my life. I'm confused by the belief that loving one person means not loving anyone else. I've tried to live that way, and I just feel awkward and
uncomfortable when I do. It's like I'm denying what could be for what is, as if having said "I love you" to someone, I'm now committed and can't say it to anyone else unless I qualify it or revoke my having said it to the
first person. It's just... strange.

My friendship with Geoff was a surprising one. At one time in the distant past, we had been very close. Not dating-close, but that was probably only for a lack of officiation. I was with Rod at the time, and I'm afraid I had
a serious case of tunnel-vision. My constant comparison of Geoff to my then-boyfriend, in fact, is what mostly led to our break-up, not that I could really blame him for it. At the time, I was utterly mystified at what had happened, but in hindsight it's very clear.

I wasn't expecting to have him back as a friend, ever, but I always did lament the loss of that friendship. We happened to meet, totally by accident, on a common IRC server and began talking. He didn't know who I was; we hadn't spoken since before my transition. When he found out, he was more surprised to find the rumors were true and to hear the story than anything else. We spent six hours, I think, just talking about the intervening years. It felt so surreal, and yet so good. In many ways, it's as if we're both back four years ago, but with the benefit of age and wisdom. It feels good to be able to go back and just talk with him again.

Quitting my job was the precursor to the move. For fourteen months, I twiddled my thumbs at L-3 Communications, waiting for them to decide to either give me work or get rid of me. When they hired me, they offered me a development position, but I was never given a line of code to write the entire time I spent there. I was shunted into administration after five months of not doing anything at all, and then transferred from the development group to the support group after another three or four. I told them that's why I quit my last two jobs, but they didn't seem to care.

In addition, ever since I started my transition at L-3, things steadily went downhill. I started out with human resources' full support, but by the end, I could barely get any recognition out of them at all. I was denied access to the women's bathrooms despite repeated promises that this was all just a temporary measure to assuage concerns and that I would be given full access in time. In the end, I stopped caring. They didn't want me using the right facilities; they just wanted me out of their hair. I know that my name was put onto a layoffs list the day after I announced my transition and that only my manager's active arguing had it removed. I think they just wanted me gone but were afraid to fire me for fear of a lawsuit. At any rate, I'm glad I'm out of there.

My new job at ISI should be far better. I received absolutely no questions, no comments, no complaints and no inquiries about my gender at all. I was hired as Kristina Davis and there's never been any issue of it. I haven't started my new position yet; that's Monday. However, it can't be anywhere near as bad as my last one. And if it is, I'm now already moved and shouldn't have any problem finding another job.

At this point, having had as many positions as I have, I really don't dread finding a new job. I hate the jobsearch process, but I don't worry about changing positions. I suppose I should; I really would love to find a place at which I could put in five or ten years of solid work experience. I hope that ISI is the place for that. From the interview, it looks like it could be, but that's what I said about L-3.

The therapy is really the big one. It's over. I had my last session the Tuesday before I moved. It was very strange in its own way. I wrote a story about how I envisioned the end of therapy, of so many months of ritual, and I was reasonably close but there were no tears. I felt nothing but happiness. I was sad for leaving behind so many people I had come to consider friends, but my therapist said quite honestly some months back that I really didn't need to be in there any more. I was there to complete the forms and get all the letters and make everything
official, but it wasn't really necessary for my well-being.

I do miss them, Lisa and Rustie and Rachel and Janet and Lillith and Brandy. In the short time I was part of their circle, I did grow and learn quite a bit. They even said that they were amazed at how much I had changed in so
short a time. I thought I had everything under control when I started, and yet I continued to grow. It makes me wonder how much more I'll change now that I'm done with that phase of my life.

My surgery date is set. My therapy is completed. I'm only waiting on my release letter from my psychiatric evaluation to submit all my paperwork to the surgeon to begin the preparations for my actual trip to Thailand. I'm in a new job, in a new town with lots of friends I've known for years living nearby. I'm in a quiet apartment with both of my mates. It's hard to believe that everything is going so right for once. I'm used to things just not quite working out as I'd planned, and so are both of them. Now, for once, everything looks as if it's going as we had hoped.

I'm certainly going to enjoy it while it lasts.

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