Looking South from up here, one thing about US politics stands out for me right now. In one month there is an election in Alabama that has seemed to take on a huge importance. Maybe I am wrong, but before Trump, there were ultra conservative, racist, homophobic candidates, but even if they might possibly win an election, they didn’t seem quite as threatening. Now people are expecting this election to be not just a statement about Alabama politics but more of a test to see if 12 months of Trump has turned people away from Trumplike candidates. Since when has Alabama served as the political weathervane to see which way the wind is blowing? I grew up in a state that sent an ultra conservative named Jesse Helms to Washington term after term. Yes, he was influential and controversial, but I don’t remember there being such fear that a majority of voters would lean that far right. Until Trump, it seemed moderates were more of the norm, whether right or left. Along with everyone else, I will be interested see what message Alabama voters send and how important that message turns out to be for the rest of the country.
I think this is one of the most important days of the year. Remembering the true cost of wars is important. We have to remember that war isn’t a Hollywood movie, it is dirty hungry and scared young people killing other dirty scared and hungry young people. People who have to mature much quicker than they should even though a lot never had the chance for their years to catch up with that maturity. War sucks and we can’t forget that. While we honour past heros, we should be looking for ways to avoid future wars. For every hero we can name, there are countless unnamed dead people. I am grateful that so many men and women would fight for what they believed in and at the same time I hope no one will ever have to again. I hate war, I hate that service people all over the world have to die young. I hate remembering what it was like to be 19 years old in the military and to have to pack up my dead buddies personal items to send to his parents. Today lets honour all those who have served and tomorrow lets start working on finding ways to make the world safe without guns and killing.
Tomorrow is my enemy. Today has been no walk in the park, but I managed to get to work. Once my day has started, I somehow manage to break it into chunks that can be survived. I have made it to lunch, now I just have to make it to the end of work. After that I just have to make it home, then dinner, then to bedtime. It isn’t always easy, but it is mostly manageable. Tomorrow is another story, though. Tomorrow is always frightening and overwhelming. I don’t even know if I will be able to get out of bed. I am not sure why, but tomorrow can never be split into manageable pieces. Tomorrow is always this big huge task that hovers just over the horizon. It is dark and scary and full of the unknown. The unknown is never good either! The promises tomorrow holds will surely be the end of me. Tomorrow scares me, I know I can’t defeat all the tomorrows. I guess I am safe, though as long as the enemy is always tomorrow. I know I am in real trouble when today becomes the enemy that I can’t manage.
Some would say I am lucky, I have managed to find and keep a job. It doesn’t pay much but it pays the rent. In a few weeks I will be through my probation period and have benefits. Keeping the job has been a struggle. Finding help while working is a bigger struggle. It seems the mental health system is only geared towards people who do not work a traditional Monday to Friday schedule. Outpatient services, a lot of private counsellors and most support groups are only available while I am working. If I were on social assistance, I would be able to access these services but I wouldn’t have the money to pay rent and eat. Now I have the money for these neccessities, barely, and I have to worry about keeping my job without the services that might improve my quality of life. It seems the health care system would be interested in helping people who need it and have jobs. Why not help before it becomes a crisis that makes working impossible? I can’t be the only one struggling with this, can I? Is the health care system only there to cater to its employees or is it there to serve the needs of the patients? Right now I have to choose between work and services that may help me if they ever receive proper funding. Work wins out, it is more reliable than the current healthcare system and it provides for basic survival.
A smile is always on my face, the tears are all on the inside.
I care more for others than myself, because I don’t like who I am.
I am a model employee, I couldn’t stand for someone to see my imperfections.
I am a great listener, it is so much easier than talking about myself.
I am always ready with a joke, it deflects attention away from my real issues.
I am always willing to help, helping others is the only worth I see in myself.
The last few weeks have pointed out the difference between worry and anxiety to me. Right now I am dealing with both and they both suck.
I have felt really on edge the last several weeks. It feels like my fight or flight response is stuck in overdrive. I am not sure exactly when or how it started and most of the time there is no reason for it.
My response was to figure out the cause and fix it. Because financial security has been on my mind, I impulsively applied for a full time job last week. By the end of the week, they had offered me the job on the condition that my references are ok.
Now I see that financial security was a worry. I have almost found a solution for the worry, but in the process have added a couple more worries. Now I have to worry about the reference checks and whether I am able to work full time again.
The whole time all of this has been happening, I still have that uneasy feeling. I can see now that it is not related to anything in particular. It is just a general ominous feeling that something bad is going to happen. This is my anxiety. My one big hope right now is that the job will work out and full time work will help at least distract me from this anxiety for 8 hours a day.
I reached a milestone in my transition last week that I didn’t expect. The last 7 or 8 months have been focused almost entirely on my health and survival. Of course I think about my transition, but I am at a point now where it isn’t a focus. I am female and that’s it. The only time being trans has been an issue is in the health system, where some people seem to be less educated about it.
The medication I am on now has fewer side effects, which is great, but it does make me sleepy and I have very vivid dreams. Last week in one of those dreams I was staying in a beautiful old building. It was huge, with three stories, marble floors, stained glass and old oak railings and steps. This building was the housing for the Canadian Olympic team and I was somehow on the team. The coolest part of all this was that I was a female athlete!
This was the first time I remember being female in my dreams. After pretending to be male for 40 some years, I think my brain must have been conditioned to dream of myself the way I lived my everyday life. Now my dreams are starting to match the reality of who I am.
Needless to say, I woke up happy and thouroghly confused about how I managed to get into the Olympics. With so many negative things happening in my life lately, this was a nice and unexpected boost.