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I Named Him Adam

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I saw a notice today that October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Seeing something like this will often remind me of one of the darkest and saddest chapters of my life. Growing up, I was always taught that pre-marital sex was wrong as well as a fairly verifiable sin. I wanted nothing more in life than to keep to being a good person as well as a good Christian who abstained from pre-marital sex unto marriage. I honestly could not think of anything being any other way. Truth be told, for a variety of reasons, I did not date in high school either so it was rather easy to remain abstinent when there is not any one who would be actively offering you sex. When I got to college, I was still very reluctant to enter into romantic relationships because I knew that I was sorting out a whole other assortment of issues which I have detailed previously on this page. My father heavily encouraged me to find companionship. So, my sophomore year of college, I started dating a girl. She was interested in sexual relations almost from the start. Personally, my beliefs and will helped me to hold out for about four months. It was after a particularly angry personal episode that one night I just happened to take her up on it.

Being somewhat my luck, the result of my first sexual experience was a pregnancy scare. At one point, she had been avoiding me for a couple weeks as her period was now late. Basically, we had a conversation in which she was trying to get money for an abortion. I offered to marry her. I offered to raise the child as mine without any responsibility or backing from her as long as she had the child. It was the only time I had seen this particular girl cry. She left the room. A couple of weeks later, she asked if my family could drive her to meet relatives. We agreed. I even took a picture with her on the relative’s front lawn. The following Sunday, she came back and announced that she had her period and everything was okay.

I never confirmed anything beyond that other than the story that she told me. It seemed odd even that with the stress of college that she would go over two months without a period. Later on, she said that she was in fact on birth control. In my mind, the horrible thought which was the most horrible thought in the world to me crept in. I started to think that there may have been an abortion. I just did not help pay for it or know about it. Honestly, I will never know but there always remained the possibility that due to that sexual experience and losing my virginity; the end result was that a child that could have been born wasn’t. The whole episode devastated me completely. I could not really talk about it because I did not want to admit that I had had the pre-marital sex in the first place. I could not get it out of my head though. Whether there was a pregnancy or there was not a pregnancy, it did not really matter in my mind. She made it clear that if she was pregnant… then that baby would not be born at all and there was nothing that I could do or say in that regard.

So, if I was responsible, that baby had no chance at life. That completely killed me with guilt… that one mere thought. In my mind, there started to be a child. The child was a boy with the same light gold hair that I had when I was young. He would have been born in February or March of 1996. That boy has grown up in my brain for the last twenty years. Without input from anyone else, I named my son Adam. The guilt eventually over took me to the point where I had to get it out of my system the only way I knew how. I wrote about it in a book. The book was published in 2002 after another blonde haired blue eyed baby named Jean was born. The last chapter is basically my apology to Adam for the life that he never had. The name of the book is American Slacker. 

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In reality, whether or not there was an Adam is a question that will never be sufficiently answered one way or the other two me. In my mind and in my heart, there were three kids; Adam, Tamara Danielle, and Jean Louise. In my heart and soul, I lost a baby who grew into a child and then a teenager and would have been 20 this year. It colored a lot of decisions after that. So, I see that October is a month for Pregnancy and Infant loss: I mourn. I mourn because I believe he existed however briefly and he mattered and he still matters greatly to me.

Thank you for reading. I just saw it and had to write.

Project: Smile Again

In 2012, I woke up with a ball on the side of my face. Unbelievably, I dismissed as swelling. The next day, my family saw the ball on the side of my face and said that I needed to see a dentist. The dental appointment was scheduled for Monday morning and this was on a Friday.

Over the weekend, things got worse. When I went to the Dentist on Monday morning, he said that it was the worst abscess that he had seen in 45 years of dentistry. I was sent immediately to the emergency room and then to a hospital where life saving surgery was performed the next day. They removed twelve teeth out of my mouth and due to a followup abscess, they had to remove two more in the months after that.  There were also drains put in my neck and my jaw was shaved… but I lived.

Work did not provide any funding for me during this time other than vacation time and I was pressured to back before any disability kicked in. Later that same year, I had abdominal pains which made me unable to work. Due a poor insurance set up, I wound up missing months of work and had a surgery the following Januray. At this point, the disability determined that I should have been working all along. Work then stated that the only way I would still have a job would be to sign a document saying that my leave was never medical. Once they had that document signed, I was left without anything for the time off. Many people helped me and my family get through but I was eventually evicted and only with the assistance of wonderful people was I able to get a new place and  a new job albeit out of state.

Of course, once the teeth were actually out, the surgery people considered their work to be done. This year, I decided to see if I could do something about actually getting dentures so that I could smile again. That was delayed a bit because I slipped on ice outside of my new job and broke my leg in three places. I broke my ankle in two. I dislocated my ankle and I suffered a concussion. Again, I was out of work nearly a month and spent a good month after I came back to work hobbling on a walked and one leg in a boot.

But, I remained undeterred. My leg was eventually pronounced to be fully healed and I scheduled a dental appointment. I had to cancel the dental appointment twice due to car failure. When I finally did have the dental appointment this week, my car’s battery died while I was in there in downtown Baltimore. Roadside assistance actually left because they did not think it was a battery and a friend came to bail us out.

The dentist said that they would need to extract two teeth, and fix two more, and do an additional procedure for my mouth to be ready for the dentures… which my insurance did not cover. After four years of scraping together to get back on my feet and get some semblence of well enough to do this, I would like to actually be able too.

I applied for credit in order to do it even from “non-traditional” sources like Lending Club and CareCredit. I found that their ‘nos’ after my understandably damaged credit  sounded a lot like traditional banks and lending companies.  The amount represents what is necessary to get my mouth fixed so that I can smile in public and show teeth and don’t have to be constantly embarassed. People have been so consistently good to me that I naturally have a large amount of guilt for asking or even bringing anything. I have been given more in this life than I can ever even begin to hope to repay. But, you never know until you try.

The worst anyone can do is ignore or say no or think “Well, they always seem to be begging.” Its just been a hard road and for once I would just like something repaired by my own decision that I want rather than have repaired because my life is legitimately threatened or I have trouble standing without it. Even if the answer comes back as nothing, then at the very least I know I have exhausted the possibility.

All love and God Bless or whatever higher power or good natural human impulse you happen to believe in. I should have my mouth ready in  a couple months which will give me a better idea of whether I can proceed with the actual goal

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WP_20160807_002Or you can message privately for my home address. Thanks to everyone for even stopping to consider.

The Stone

Of all people, Kathie Lee Gifford got me to thinking. She was talking about Frank Gifford’s last days and how they had taken a trip to the Holy Land. The went to the same water in which David picked up the stones in order to defeat Goliath. There were still smooth small stones waiting to be picked up. When you think about it, all David needed on that day in order to defeat the giant was the stones or rather one stone. Everything else in David’s life as well as abilities had all led him to that point. God had been preparing him every day of his life in order to slay the giant. God knew that this would be one of the defining moments in David’s life and one of the events which would propel him to be King. David had defeated wild animals with a slingshot. David had shepherded and cared for flocks. Quietly, in the background, he was being prepared. By the time the day did come, all that he needed was the stone.

In a more modern setting, there was 1984’s The Karate Kid. Daniel did not see really what waxing or painting or varnishing had to do with karate. He did it because he trusted Mr. Miyagi. When Daniel questioned what he had been doing, Miyagi demonstrated that the movements which he had been doing repeatedly were actually the same movements necessary in order to block high and low kicks. Off of these movements, Daniel learned to trust Mr. Miyagi as well as continue his training.

There is a possibility in the next couple days or so that I might receive up to three different possibilities for a job. There is also the possibility that I receive none. However, let’s say that there are three. That would not just be simply a good day. One of the jobs would be a temp job from an agency that I first interviewed with a couple of months ago. The recruiter that I talked to actually left for Virginia and transferred me over to another recruiter. I had to then go to that recruiter and resubmit all of my information. Even that was weeks ago as I am writing this. It just so happened that now there might be something that matches my skill set. Likewise, I have interviewed with Best Buy and been in communication with them for weeks concerning multiple positions. I have had three interviews in person as well as several conversations over the phone in order to determine the best fit. The final job was a resume that I submitted a couple of weeks ago and was set up for interview last week. The interview took place on Tuesday. The point is that each and every opportunity was weeks in the making. Any offers are simply the stone that was placed in my hand as well as the culmination of several mundane successes and failures all preparing me for one potential decision. It just all looks like potentially a flurry of events within a couple of days.

Lets put it another way. When you wake up in the morning, think about where exactly you are waking up. At one point, that was a conscious decision in your life. Think about the car you drive. Think about anyone else in your house. Think about the job you may go to. Think about that whole list of ridiculous things that you put on yourself that you have to do today. All of those are the results of past decisions and preparation. Today in some way is just a magnificent culmination of all of that effort and background training. None of those days turn out to be any less important than any others. There are just some days in which you happen to slay giants. When those days come, all you need is a stone in which you can pick up out of any stream. All of the rest has already been provided for you.

Change itself is fairly inevitable. This is no matter how much you want to or would like to avoid it. The wonderful thing about life is that change can be steered. Goals can be set. However, the priority has to be in the attaining what is daily and what is manageable. For instance, you look at people being drafted to play in a professional league and wish on some level that that could be you. You want that to be you on that particular day. However, did you want that to be you for the decade or so or more that those people spent sacrificing time, physical energy as well as convincing other to make a financial investment in their sports future. Did you want that to be you when every coach they had from five years old up treated them like they were a lot less than a superstar? Lets say that you could absolutely be guaranteed (and there was no guarantee for them), but lets say that you could absolutely be guaranteed your dream job. All you had to do was set aside four or five hours a day for thirteen years to devote to unpaid training. This would be in addition to your job as well as everything else that you have going on in your life right now. However, in 2028, it is all just sitting there waiting for you. To the draftee in that scenario, their name being called is no different than David picking up a stone and slaying a giant. That is the day that they got credit. That is the day that everything came together. That day would have been nothing without all of the other days regimented.

That is why I focus on the day and making some sort of forward progress no matter how small from the day previous. No matter how small as long as it is working toward the overall goal. People sometimes pay attention. Sometimes they do not. In the end, they will be like “How did you do that?” and you will have been doing it all along. In the movie The Shawshank Redemption, it took Andy Dufresne 19 years to burrow his way out of the prison. Every day, he would take the little bit of wall that he had chipped out the night before and scatter it on the ground. It was the best part of the day. One day, he simply disappeared. The question only becomes, what is your piece of the wall that you will chip out today and scatter to the wind? What is your stone? What is that one thing that you will do today that will move you forward even by an inch from yesterday? If you read my statuses on Facebook, then you will see that I am reading five books at the same time. How? I am going one page, section, chapter. or whatever on each of them a day. How do you read five books all at once? You find that balance between what is manageable on a daily basis and what still gives you forward progress. It is a timeframe and area that henceforth I might just start referring to as ‘the stone.’

Questions No One Has Been Afraid To Ask

After the last time that I posted in here, I am guessing no one is going to skip this one because you just never really know. Since our last little adventure, I have been talking to many of you on a personal basis often in chat conversations. Here are a few of the most common topics that I have been asked about in the private connversations.

 

  1. Are you accusing God of making a mistake when you were developed in the womb?

 

No, I am not. I am not accusing God of making a mistake with the development of my chromosomes in the womb any more than I would be accusing God of making a mistake if some one was born with a Down’s Syndrome, without an arm, blind, or any number of other things that can and will happen. I am simply seeking to cure it. If there was a shot to to regrow an arm or to make the blind see, no one or at the very least my guess would be that very few would be running around saying “No, keep them blind, they were born the way God intended and curing them is an accusation against God!!”

As a matter of fact, you only hear this one when it concerns genitals or when it concerns being transgendered. That is just someone’s idea to make it a sin that once done stands for all time and cannot be corrected. To say such a thing presumes to know the mind and heart of God, which Christians are actually told that they should never do. ( 1 Corinthians 2:11 ) It also assumes that it is impossible for God to have put me on this path. If you are saying that it is impossible that God intended for all this to happen, you are also in direct conflict with what the Bible says in that all things are possible through God ( Matthew 19:26 ) but you absolutely know that this could never be. Again, that is making the assumption that you know the mind and heart of God as well as the assumption that it is impossible for God to have set me on this path.

I will actually throw you one better. Let’s go ahead and assume that this is a personal delusion of mine and that I am acting completely against the will of God. Let’s assume that there is sin in my heart and that I am making a personal accusation against the Lord Almighty. Let’s say that in defiance of God’s will I am doing this ‘horrible thing.’ That brings us to Romans 8:28 which states “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose..”

That means that even if I am completely delusional in all of this, that as long as I am not doing it under any malice or cursing God or questioning my love for Him or His love for me… then I can make what people see as this horrendous mistake of pursuing an outward confirmation of my inwards feelings and God will find a way to turn it into something that glorifies Him. So, on many levels, as far as my relationship with God is concerned, I am at total peace.

 

2. Are you gay?

No, I am not gay. I have no problems with homosexuality at all, but I do not feel that I am personally gay. I feel that I am completely heterosexual based on thee gender that I identify with. However, by that same token, until I get to a place in my life in which I am comfortable with who I am… then I would not pursue any other type of relationship. I don’t personally think (in my one exclusive case) that it would be entirely fair to the other person involved in teh relationship. I have been married twice. I have had other relationships with women. Every single time that I have had relationships with women… this has come up. Growing up, I felt much the same way. However, during most of my teenage years, I completely avoided dating or asking girls out specifically for this reason. Eventually, in college, I broke down as part of an attempt to try and get rid of these feelings or more normalize myself which I feel was largely a mistake. On the flip side of that, it allowed me to participate in the growing and raising of a family and for that I am eternally grateful.

 

3. When did you “know?”

I would say that I knew that there was an issue as far back as I can remember. However, I did not always know what the exact difference between the sexes was. I just knew that some people were classified as “girls” and I identified with them more than the ones classified as “boys” and that is how I was classified. Once, I learned the differences which was probably about Kindergarden or the first grade.., then I actively started praying on the issue and asking God what to do about it. And it is certainly true that long about the third or fourth grade, I actively considered though I had no idea how to actually accomplish it, selling my soul to Satan in order to become biologically female. It was a decision that I personally wrestled with until I decided to give my heart and soul to God in the Christian faith. Once that was accomplished,  I no longer felt like my soul was mine anymore to barter with. If presented today with the option, I would have to decline on the basis that I had already sold my soul to God and that it was no longer mine in order to give.

I would state that doing this did nothing to change my feelings on the matter at least about who I was or who I felt that I was. Nothing at all. Growing up, I referred to it as “The Fever.” I prayed for God to take away the thoughts of it as well as the desire of it completely from me which did not happen. I do not in any way believe that I was not earnest in asking. I do not believe that my prayers were ignored in this regard. However, as far as eliminating them from me, that never happened either. Alternately, if it could not be removed from me – then I prayed that some sort of progress could be made in correcting the problem. Over the years, slowly but surely progress is starting to be made. Again, I feel that all things even this work towards the fruition of God’s plan, yes even in this, and that we are going off of God’s timing, yes again even in this.

 

4. Are you suicidal?

No, I am not. As a matter of fact, the entire reason why I am doing this is out of  desire to live. If I had wanted to die to end this misery, I could have simply let myself die in 2012 when the growth was on the side of my mouth. I cannot really explain it but there was a moment there where I was presented with a very clear decision. I could have crawled into a grave. People would have seen it as a terrible tragedy and they would have buried the person that they knew. They would never even have known about this. In short, and it is something that people may or may not understand is that I fought and found a will to live precisely so that I could one day full fill this particular purpose. It brought me back from death’s door and continues to give me purpose. I am taking the option that entail living. If I did not have that option, then yes I would certainly take myself out of this world and have very few regrets about it. In my mind, it is a very clear decision. Continue to pursue this or if this is taken away, then commit suicide. I very much consider it all to be a life and death situation and a life and death choice.

 

5. Why not simply live your life but wear women’s clothing when you feel like it?

Because, as much as I love the clothes and believe me I do… the clothes are not the problem. It is the body underneath that is the actual problem. There are crossdressers, transvestites, drag queens, and a whole range of spectrum under that. The underlying thing (for lack of an immediately better term) on all of that is that they are men or women (hetero or homosexual) who for whatever reason (sometimes sexual arousal) dress in clothing of the opposite gender. However, they are perfectly comfortable actually being the sex that they are born. They identify with the that sex as their gender. They just get enjoyment out of wearing the clothing sometimes or all the time. That is not who I am. Again, in my case, it is the body itself that is the issue and not necessarily the clothes on the body.

 

6. What problems do you think that this will solve?

This  one was actually posed to me by a psychologist. I thought about it for a moment and answered.

“None. As a matter of fact, I think that it will and has caused a lot more problems than it will ever solve.”

They asked me to expound upon my answer. Anytime that we want something, put something as a goal, or work towards something… then what we are trying to accomplish is a change in circumstance. That is all I am working towards is to wake up in the morning and identify myself and have the world identify me as female. When I get to that point and I am comfortable with it, then it will simply be the first thing about my day. From there, I get to endur. e the same hardships, problems, challenges and what ever as any one else in that gender or as identified as such. Possibly less. Possibly more. It is all dependent on circumstance.

I often use the example of the Genie. The reason why Genie’s are seen as evil or tricksters is not because they don’t grant wishes, it is that they do not provide customer service assuring and helping people every single day of the rest of their life that they have made the right decision and will be happier for it. I have been in customer service for fourteen years. The moment that a service does not for some reason continually improve some one’s life, they are on the phone or internet or however they communicate wanting it to be fixed. Ultimately, what people don’t want is freedom from some degree of responsibility for their decisions. Everyone wants to be a lottery winner because they want more than anything a change in the circumstances of their life. They cannot imagine how people with a ton of cash could ever be unhappy. Of course, one day they may win win it and find out exactly how that may occur. Jim Carrey once said that he hoped everyone in this life got everything they always wanted, so in some cases to find out that it was not what they wanted after all.

The point of all of it is that there is not one magic thing that will make you or I happy or solve all of your problems. Whether it is this, money, weight loss, crossing off everything from your personal Bucket List. There are circumstances that can change and perspective. That is all that I am asking for and hoping to accomplish. From there, it is simply on to life as we know it. The odd part about all of this is that I have been strange or odd all of my life. I am not trying to become more strange or more odd. I am trying to become in my eyes more normal so that I do not have to be as strange or odd. I want to be open with people. I am personally very tired of holding things in. I am tired of struggling with it. I am tired of not having healthy relationships with people or feeling like I am not fully part of the human race. I am tired of feeling ashamed over this. So, I am letting it go outside of me. I am being open about it. I am talking about it to whoever will listen.

This is ultimately about myself being mentally healthy. The byproduct I would hope is that it makes me a better person. I can already tell you that no matter what happens, I am much happier for having finally talked about it.. Now, I just move on steps from here.

No One At Home Calls Me Jim

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I am transgendered. Since people are sometimes only going to read the thumbnail. Lets just start there. More popularly, I am a woman trapped in a man’s body. I suffer from Gender Identity Disorder or Gender Dysphoria. I am uncomfortable with my body as was born into. I have a birth gender and a preferred gender. I have a thousand of them and a lot of different ways to say it. Yo quiero transgender. Dony wa transgender. Click Click…bloody… click.. transgender. I have pictures.

Okay, now that we have gotten through the confession phase of our program. This is nothing new at all. I mean, I have hidden it and it has been as far as I am concerned the central issue of my life as far back as I can remember. As a child, I can remember actively offering my soul to Satan if he would simply change my sex. Nothing ever came of the discussions but I remember being racked by guilt, ashamed of myself, and every other negative emotion that you can throw on. If you knew me, I was probably a quiet kid. I did not speak much. I just walked around with my terrible secret. Eventually, I tried to pray it away as much as possible. I have suppressed it my entire life. I did not want it. I did not embrace. It just would not go away. You would think by my thought and demeanor that I had killed someone at a young age and just kept trying to hide the memory or not telling anyone where I hid the body.

It led to problems growing up. I just could not talk about what the problems exactly were. I did not generally relate to boys at all. I did not exactly join in any reindeer games. When I got near middle school, I started reaching out and trying to make friends with girls. This predictably led to problems. I had no romantic interest so the ones that did not want me around were mean to me. I went home crying. Literally, every weekend I went home crying. Eventually, I brought home a record six F’s on my report card. Failing gym actually took a bit of work. The school was blamed. I had no ability to say that I was a girl and not a boy. I understood what it meant though. When I got to the new school, I did the only thing that I knew to do. I clammed up. Completely.

I just put my head down and decided to get through all of this the best that I could. My friends were people that approached me. Most of the girls that I convinced myself that I was in love with were simply girls that I wanted to know better or had been nice to me at some point. I actually had very few skills in relating to people. I did not date. I did not ask anyone out. I did not want to inflict myself or my terrible secret upon them. I certainly did not bother in going to anything like my senior prom. I was literally terrified to admit anything or talk about it all. There was no one really to talk too. Church made it pretty apparent that if this was in you at all, you were accusing God himself of making a mistake.

When I got to college, my father pretty much implored me to at least try dating. So, I did. I happened to end up dating a woman who would eventually come out as a lesbian. I am guessing that may be part of the reason why we got married. The marriage did not last, but it certainly lasted long enough for me to tell her who I was. She said that she would support me if that was the decision that I made. Trouble was, I felt like I could not make that decision. Even after the divorce when I was technically on my own. I still did not feel like I could live as I wanted to.

So what did I do, I got married again. My wife had a four year old which I adopted. I even fathered a child. I tried to put it all as much away from me as possible. Don’t call me brave. I have been running scared and terrified for the better part of four decades now. Eventually, after a few years, I could not maintain it under those circumstances either. I told my wife. To her credit, she did not actually leave. I told both the kids. I went to see a counselor. Part of me was hoping that the counselor would say that it was something else. They did not say that at all. That was in 2011.

In early 2012, I developed an abscess in the root system of my gums. It could have killed me. It damn near did. I was lying there in the hospital facing surgery and death. Do you know what was actually going through my mind at the time? If they bury me, they will bury me as a man. That was simply the most intolerable thought in the world to me. I am lying there literally at death’s door. I turned back. I wanted to live. I was going to live no matter what. Because, I may be going to hell – but they were not going to bury me in any kind of suit or men’s clothes. I had to live. I could not let it end like that. I lived. Doctors said I was lucky. I was not lucky. I could have chosen to die.

About the time that I had fully recovered from the the surgery to my mouth, jaw, and neck; I somehow ended up with a hernia and ended up with a double mesh put in. To me, that was kind of an insult, they were operating on my pelvic region. The reason why they were operating there was because of something because I was biologically male. Something that I did not even want was putting me back on a surgery table for the second time in under a year. As I was recovering, I wrote a hand written (mind you) letter to a therapist. He was moved by it and took me on.

So, I went into therapy for the second time. That lasted a few months and everyone at work thought I was some sort of saint for giving up weekdays and working weekend days for them when I had weekends off. It was just that the therapist did not have any actual times on the weekends that he could fit me in. I was tired of burning up vacation time to make regular appointments. He wrote a recommendation letter that allowed me to take female hormones or what is more commonly known as hormone replacement therapy. That was going well until the fact that I had been out too long for the surgery and got no disability or anything like that got me evicted from my apartment.

I had to move to Pennsylvania which was a God send, but also put me away from the therapy. As it stood, I did not actually start on the hormones until February of 2014. Of course, there is kind of this thing about starting them when you are 39 years old, it takes a lot longer for them to work and to feminize your body. Ideally, you would start something like this when you are around 12-13 which was incidentally about the time that I started having a lot of problems. They make me feel better and more balanced. They are having an obvious effect. However, I am just saying that in the teens and twenties it is a lot more pronounced. I have just lost an awful lot of time, thats all.

We mentioned at the top of the program that nobody calls me “Jim” at home. For the record, nobody use “Dad,” “father,” or any real male pronouns unless for the express reason that company is over. So, what do they call me exactly? They call me Sherry or Sherri, I kind of go back and forth on the correct spelling. How did I come to that name? Well, in 2008, Stacey was playing an online game called Second Life. She wanted me to go into the game as well. I agreed but on one condition. If it was going to truly be my Second Life, I was not going in as a male. I had had enough of that in my first life. We were then roommates in Second Life. She got to know me as I would be or as I really saw myself as being.

In Second Life, my name was Starr. It was kind on an attempt to reclaim the name and make something good out of it. In middle school, I had actually known a girl who was named Starr. It was not a good experience and one of the primary reasons that I ended up leaving that school. Well, people know that your names are made up in Second Life.  They asked Stacey and me what my real life name was. My parents had actually discussed this topic extensively before I was born. I never asked them for the spelling, but the decision was made on Sherry Renee after much debate, discussion, and prayer. I was not actually going to argue with that. Sherry became my real life name in Second Life and eventually the name that Stacey and the girls called me. Eventually, I created a Facebook page in order to express myself. That Facebook page was listed as Sherri Starr and can be conveniently found here

https://www.facebook.com/sherrystarryeyes

This is kind of important in that one day, the Facebook page that you are reading this on or will link to to get here will no longer exist. Not today, but one day the “Jim Ciscell” Facebook page will be completely gone and if you want to connect with me… it will have to be through that page. I am just throwing that out there. I made that page over three years ago by the way. Again, the only thing new about any of this is that you are potentially reading it for the first time. Of course, I wrote about this all last year as well. It got a lot of attention for about a day and then kind of died down. I seem to have a need to give an update on this situation every August or so.

Moving on with my story, I started to tell a number of people whom I thought would be sympathetic to all of this after my move back to Maryland after Pennsylvania. Its kind of the way that Facebook works I guess. People started friending me after I told them, then people started looking at the pictures and seeing through to me and friending me there as well. The end result is that somewhere people are talking about it. The other end result is that when I allow myself to be Sherry, I am a happy confident person. When I put myself back into the box of Jim, then the entire demeanor changes and goes wrong. I mostly dress up when I am alone and I have my own place in the house where I sleep and pretty much live. I actually dressed up a while back and allowed myself to take a stroll and photograph myself outside.

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Note the near natural glowing happiness. Thinking about it is the only way I ever get a smile in any Faacebook photos. A few weeks back, I answered a call for an extra in which they wanted a ‘middle aged man.’ So, I dropped my Peter Pan happy thought and just took a picture. This is what they got.

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Because that is who Jim is. Jim does not smile. He is pretty much always serious and having to go back is literally giving me headaches. It is not doing very many other people in my life very much good either. Its very much like a suit that I put on to work in. Its itchy. Its uncomfortable and quite frankly, hatred is not near enough strong a word for it. I just don’t know of one stronger. With what the hormones have done anyway, all we are really talking about is a wig and some clothes. For the record, I could really use more clothes. I have sizes if anyone is interested.

 

Basically, my plan has several steps to it. I am going to get a job.  I am going to get back into counseling.  I am going to transition (live) full time at home. Eventually, I am going to transition full time at work as well and I am going to get rid of this Facebook page when I feel like the time is right. From there, we will get into any surgeries. If all of this is hard to accept, I have no real words for you other than “I tried.”

I tried living how I was “supposed” too. I tried marriage. I tried fatherhood. I tried prayer. I tried to put it away. I tried to get rid of it I tried everything that I knew. I tried everything everyone else knew. If this ends our relationship or friendship or you feel like you can’t speak to me anymore…. then honestly who ever you are… this is more important to me than you. That goes for anyone not in my house at this moment. I hope that you found our time together beneficial.

Everyone else, it is a process, It may not be one that you hear about for a while, but it is happening and it is ongoing. I figured that unemployment was as good a time as any to bring it up. I am not risking any type of job at the moment. I am merely risking some embarrassment potentially or the loss of some people who would no nothing but try and stop me anyway.  That is where I am at the moment,

 

My Last Memories of David Rye

Hi, I am kind of a writer.

You don’t always know why things happen. There are a lot of things that I still don’t know why they happen. I don’t know why this happened. I do know that my life has taken a lot of extra ordinary turns in the last week or so.

Last Saturday, I was told by the Stacey Ciscell that she had run out of medication. We did not have money do the next day, she wound up in the emergency room. She was then accepted for treatment and moved to another hospital. This series of moves did not change the fact that I did not have any money or that the needs were starting to grow. At first I didn’t tell anyone until I truly had nothing and then begged friends.

This was after Stacey had already been moved. When I got home, I had a message from David Rye reaching out to me to see how he could help. I felt bad asking anyone but asking a man who was dying seemed to make me a particularly bad person on some level. Then, he told me something that will stay with me the rest of my life.

He said ” All I got is money and the love of family and friends. Do you want to guess which one I will have in about a week? ”

He wanted to send by Wal-Mart to make sure that I got it. We wound up talking most of the night. I always kind of avoided the topic with him. I figured that he didn’t need another person talking to him about it. This time, he brought up the subject. We talked about it. He told me that my friendship and writing had been a bright spot in his life for the last couple years.

I told him that I started praying for him every night since October of 2013. He thanked me for my faith. We exchanged stories back and forth. At one point I said…

”Well, I have been me a long time. ”
David responded ” That’s a good person to be. ”

He said to make sure that I let him know that I got the money. I did not get it till the next day. I contacted him and we talked more. At the end of it all, he finally said ”I’m not feeling good. I am going to bed. Talk to you later.”

He was happy that Stacey was doing better and might come soon. I did not want any of this to happen. I did not want to be out of money. I did not want Stacey to go to the hospital. I did not want to have to ask for money. I did not want any of it.

This morning, I found out David passed away. I have known he was dying but I did not expect it today. I don’t know how close I was to being the last person he talked to. There is a lot that I don’t know.

There is some that I do. As terrible as this last week has been, I would not give up the contact that I had with David these last three days for anything. I know that I miss my friends. I know that he mentioned the songs ” Bluest Eyes in Texas” and ” Brown Eyed Girl. ” I know that he mentioned a son of a friend of his who has ADHD and how much he loved him. I know that when I told him that when he passed, I would write a blog post that would make the ” angels sing. ”

I also know that in the comic Amazing Spider Man #400, Aunt May dies. Peter reads to her from Peter Pan and she gasps last as he reads ” Do you know the way to Neverland? It’s just the second star to the right and straight on till morning. ”

Since I read that, somehow I came to a designation in my mind that the most special of people passing were worthy of the quote. They were ” second star ” worthy. David is the first one so worthy that I quoted the line to him before he passed if only by one day. Maybe, just maybe, he thought about or dreamed of flying to Neverland before the end.

I want his friends and family to know that part of his last action on Earth was to help our a struggling family. He showed care, love, friendship, and fellowship to his fellow man right up to the end. If that does not get a high note from an angel, then all the words I have had before and all those since will have been wasted.

I want to convey the emotion I am feeling. I want you to feel as I feel. I want you to know that he kept hud humor that we all loved and his capacity to love till the very end. If that is what it took for everyone to know, then no matter what the cost to me was to deliver that message – it was more than worth it.

I also want you to know that he said Ole Miss games were a lot more fun than Mississippi State games.

A lot of people have said today that they don’t have words.

I have words.

Rest in peace, go high on that mountain David Rye. You have earned it.

Like I said, I am kind of a writer. I want you to love this man as I did.

What Happened

You know, I have found in life that you actually can be embarrassed to death. I have a pretty complicated relationship with honesty. I am not a dishonest person. I just want things to be okay. If people ask, I tell them that I am fine. I stress the positive every day. I try my best to be thankful. I talk about faith in God and resilence and I honestly mean it. I just can’t seem to stop sliding downward. I can’t seem to stop needing help. I want to, but it always seems like I am put back in the position of just telling the truth and saying that I can’t seem to make it.

It all started with the water bill. I have a rental agreement to pay 275 a week. For the record, I clear 661 every two weeks. I make around ten bucks an hour now. It was less. So, in order to make bills work, things occasionally have to get pretty creative and there is some sort of tacit understanding that everything has to go right. It’s just kind of the way of poverty. The other way of poverty is that you feel kind of good when you are a little ahead.

The downside is that things can go south pretty quickly. The water bill had to be paid and all we had was the coming rent. So, we paid the water bill. This means that I ended up asking my Mom to help with rent. She was most gracious and saintly in order to do so. That was on Friday. For a day or so for anyone familiar with poverty, every one felt a little better about themselves.

Saturday was a different story. I am not going to get too much into a rather private matter but Stacey takes medication to help balance out herself and moods. One of the real tragedies of everything is that without consistent application, things like anxiety and depression augmented by worry can lead to disastrous effects.

You don’t want to look necessarily like a bum and a begger especially when you have just gotten through with begging. I mean the phrase ” I’m a loser and here’s why… ” can only come our of your mouth…. Sooo.. Many times before you can’t manage to say it anymore especially when everyone you know is so consistently wonderful to you.

So, I was like I don’t really know anyone I can ask. I don’t know if there is ever a time when I won’t feel bad about not thinking that there was anyone l could reach out to for eighty dollars worth of prescriptions. Given what we felt were the options, we went the only route we could. I stayed with Jean and Dani went with Stacey to the emergency room.

I don’t always advertise when there is an emergency room visit. Dani actually wound up with a staple in her finger last year and I didn’t mention it on social media or to friends. Mostly because I couldn’t figure out if it was a funny story or a sad one. The emergency room gave her medication and usually that is the end of it. This time it wasn’t.

It was suggested that she take a voluntary admission into the hospital. This was too make sure that there were more incidents. They kept her in the emergency room for the next two days. Through all of this, I said nothing publicly about it. At work, I still have not. I have gone to work every day this week and not acted like anything at all was wrong.

Keep on mind that things were tight before all of this happened especially on an off week from a paycheck. But I had done my begging and my asking. So with little in the tank and less in the fridge, we just kept on going, somehow making it.

The facility that they moved her too is 219 miles away. They have visitation on Sunday and Tuesday. 72 hours had now turned into at least five to seven days. I still need to get a second W2 form to file for tax money. 550 of this week’s paycheck is still going to be earmarked for rent. So, that leaves a situation in which there is 111 dollars to make it a couple weeks on barring a W2 and a refund anticipation loan and some how the kids really need to see their mother on Sunday.

In all of this, I had almost forgotten that these events are just a little less than a week away from me turning forty. Ideally whatever I thought I wanted or had planned had been pretty overshadowed by wanting this to hopefully be nearing a conclusion by then.

The strange thing is that when ever I tell the truth and simply be honest, wonderful things tend to happen. There is a character in Men In Black III named Griffin who says that any path to success is one in which the truth is told. So, I am doing the one thing left that I have and telling the truth.

I don’t want to ask for anything. I have to. Honestly, I hate that. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and stating that one of my worst fears was that the preacher at my wedding would pull out a ledger at my funeral and say ” Yeah, verily, let’s us read now the various times and institutions in which this dear child was overdrawn and low verily how they did so embarrass them selves to yon reputable bankers. ”

So there it kind of is. The absolute truth. I just need to make it through the next couple weeks after rent and I need to get the kids to see their mom on Sunday. I also probably am going to need to find a way to get her home.

I hope that this is the beginning of a turnaround. I hope that once she gets the help she needs and taxes come in then things will happen to make everything as solid as ever… Hopefully more so.

Till then, I only have faith and the love of family and friends that I have no right to ask for more from.

If you can help, the PayPal is ciscell@hotmail.com Any other method would have to be a private conversation. I promise that this is only for my family needs and not anything for myself. If you can’t, believe me I understand and I am sorry that I even asked really.

Thanks and God bless you all. If nothing else give my family prayers and your thoughts. Those of you who are used to my normal updates, they will start up again after another 24 hours.

I love you all.

I think what broke my heart mist of all was that I found a list of what Stacey needed for the hospital. It included her Hello Kitty and her teddy bear. That’s pretty much when I lost it till just now typing this.

Okay, I’m done. I feel like I have said to much already.