I guess the fire didn’t get enough response, perhaps?

So, two posts ago, back on President’s Day, I talked about how we’d had a fire set in front of our house.  It was pretty creepy, but just general talk with all of you, all of my friends, got me not so freaked out and able to kinda calm down.  Calm, that is, until today.

Today [note: name redacted] (the owner of the place here) came by my room and asked if I’d “seen the driveway.”  My confused look prompted him to continue to explain that sometime yesterday some fool with a can of spray paint had marked the sidewalk in front of our driveway with “MAN?” in big, black lettering.

Now, I’m confident in who I am.  I knew when I made the decision to express the woman inside, outwardly, that not everybody would accept that, and that people would do shit like this — even my mom warned me about it.  “People will do very hateful and hurtful and often violent things to anyone who doesn’t fit neatly inside their idea of what’s normal or appropriate,” she said.  And while I accept that it’s going to happen, that doesn’t make me any less angry at the people who did it, or any less irritated that so many people have such small and insecure minds.

[note: name redacted] is working on trying to get a response from the police, and at this point is wondering whether it wouldn’t be more productive to try calling 9-1-1 and see if they’ll get the gears turning.  I think all of us living here know that this may never be “solved” in terms of finding the individual(s) responsible, but we at least hope that there’s some possibility of making it stop.

I’m including photos of the idiocy — I thought it might be useful to have some documentation and evidence of the event, so I snapped a couple shots with a camera I’ve been borrowing from [note: name redacted] (he’s the other guy living here) and have passed along a copy to [note: name redacted].

MAN?

Graffiti left on the sidewalk…

Muse calls, I answer. It matters not the time nor place.

Wish For An Epitaph

If one thing may be said of me,
When one day hence I pass away
A phrase to mark my memory —
If one thing may be said of me,

May it not be that they will say
“In memory of our wandering son,
Who lost the path, the chosen way.”
May it not be that they will say

“A truer friend, I knew of none.
No human on the planet’s face
Could give their heart as she has done.
A truer friend, I knew of none.”

Upon my final resting place
I hope they may engrave in stone
Two simple words, one final trace
Upon my final resting place

Two simple words that stand alone,
Two words remain above my head.
Two words that dwell when I am gone,
Two simple words that stand alone:

“She lived.”  And so I hope is said
With peaceful smile and whispered thrill,
“She truly lived! She laughed, she bled,
She sang… She lived, and always will.”

Vandalism and hate crimes, or: How Being A Night Owl Saved My Life

So.  Pretty sure most of you have gotten in on my second move, ending here living with the two really awesome gay guys.  I’ll give more details on that at some point if needed, but that’s not why I’m posting tonight.

I’m posting because I’m alive.  I’m alive because I was awake late, long after [note: name redacted] and [note: name redacted] had gone to their beds — they go back to work tomorrow, and needed sleep.  I’m alive because I was awake to see the freshly-lit fire that had been set in the birdbath outside my bedroom window, close enough to the front of the house that within seconds I could see the flames licking against the building.  I’m alive because I ran down the hall, banged on doors, called out that we had FIRE! and alerted the other two in time to take a big, old blanket and smother the blaze.

I know it’s pointless to dwell on “what if?” questions, but I have to at least consider that if I’d been in bed around 11:45 when I first felt tired, if I hadn’t been fucking around with a wallpaper project in Photoshop, chilling with some relaxing music, if I’d gone to sleep… I might likely have not awakened until the flames had started into the wall — the wall against which my bed rests, where I might have been choking on smoke as I startled awake, or worse, slept though until the fire itself was on me.

Granted, I’d seen some headlights slow down near the house at some point during the night.  I dismissed it as a rare but still possible car down the street, and got back to work.  No clue what time that was.  It wasn’t until I had decided to finally shut down the desktop and get to bed, when I had sat on my matress to turn off my laptop, that I heard someone peel out, and looked up to see the orange flickering glow just outside.

I also noticed that, after taking care of the fire, there was no mention of calling the police — from what I gather, “Vallejo’s Finest” aren’t often big on helping out with this sort of matter, but I could just be picking up the “dissatisfied customer” bias — someone who’s had a great experience somewhere will likely tell you about it if you ask, but those who went through hell are only too happy to share the misery, and keep you from going through the same.

Well, I really ought to try to get some sleep now.  Supposed to be headed back to Fairfield tomorrow…

Comments, please?

Thanks.

Home, where the heart is. But where is my heart?

Wow.  Well, here’s an attempt at nearly a week’s worth of updates; let’s see how long it takes me…

So, last time I was excitedly telling of my new home, and how eager I was to move in.  Well, I moved in — what an adventure in itself! — thanks to the help of Witness and [note: name redacted].  My parents rather insisted that my computer and monitor couldn’t possibly be safe anywhere in that truck, and that I needed to let them drive those things down.  It was a very obvious and transparent excuse for them to see my new place, and see me off, but I went with it — I had actually been a little sad thinking that I wouldn’t have a chance to say a real goodbye, and that was as good a reason as any to get them down there.

After they had brought the last of my things in, I went back out to the car, and stopped them both before they got in… gave my mom a great, big hug and said, “Bye, Mom.  I love you.”  She came back with, “Yep, ditto.”  So I turned to my dad, said “Your turn now!” Hugged him tight and said, “I love you, Dad.”  He let go, looked away, and said simply, “Bye.”  Then they both got in the car and drove away.

I know they love me; I know that they could never hate their child, no matter how far they think I’ve strayed from Truth and Light… but can it really be that seriously difficult for either of them to speak those words to me, to let me know that they really do still care?  Perhaps I’m expecting too much from them, too soon.  I often forget how hard this has got to all be for them…

At any rate, I “settled in” as much as possible at my new place, and for a while the “new carpet smell” did a lot to help me feel great about the place.  However, it’s really starting to sink in that the place is actually kinda creepy, unsettling, and to be quite honest — lonely.  The war veteran I mentioned before, is a little wrinkled 81-year-old Philipino guy who seems to have a short enough memory that he is eager to tell me the same bits of his life story twice a day or more.  They were actually rather interesting, the first time.  The second time, it wasn’t hard to nod politely, interject a “Yes, that’s right, I remember you’d mentioned that.” now and then.  By the ninth or tenth time it was just plain irritating.  Then of course, just as frequently he asks, “Do you read the Bible?” I always kindly say, “No, I don’t.” which launches him into a spiel on “Well, that is your prerogative, of course, but The Good Lord God asks us all to learn of Him, to follow His Commandments, and Jesus Christ Our Savior said…..”

That’s not even mentioning his sister, 2 years older than him, who nobody mentioned was sharing his room.  She speaks very little English, but is just as happy to tell me her whole life story every time we see each other.  Those two are essentially my only human contact in any given day, and although they are happy to not only address me as Sophia but to accept me as such, it’s really not that pleasant of a place.  I could go on about the grungy bathroom, the single power outlet in my bedroom which can’t plug computer stuff (even if it reached), or how there’s no internet access in my room even if I did have a computer, or any number of other things, but basically even though it’s a huge step up from my folks’ house, it’s not a good place.

I really rushed into things, and where I should have told [note: name redacted] I would like some time to think about it, I was so excited at the thought of *anything* that I said yes on the spot.  When I got back to Fairfield, I had a better offer waiting in my email, even, which I told the guy “I’m sorry, but I’ve just committed to something else.”  But I saw today that his ad is still up, and I contacted him again, just to keep options open.  He had been hoping to rent it by Feb. 1st, and I may — just a slight chance — look at moving yet again.  If I do, I’m going to take time and caution before committing.

So!  In more happy news, I saw my doctor on Thursday!  I made the trip to Fairfield as fully Sophia on the outside as I could manage, and my doctor — Dr. L — was her always-bright-and-smiling self, which did no small amount to help me feel good.  She is one person of whom I can truly say that I have seen her eyes sparkle with an inner light; she seems a truly joyful person.  She walked me back to her office, we sat down, and she said simply, “So! Tell me what’s up?  I can see a lot has changed.”

I started in with, “Well, first… I’ve moved out.”  I paused a moment for her reaction, and her sharp gasp, even wider smile, and exclamation of “That’s wonderful!  I’m so happy for you!” was such a thrill to me, and when she followed immediately with, “So what happened that finally got you to do it?” She opened the door to discuss the rest of my changes, which I happily did.  She actually hadn’t known anything about me as Sophia, since last we spoke, I had yet to acknowledge her within me, myself — and so much has happened so quickly that it’s hard to believe — almost — that I’ve come this far.  She had some general basic questions for me — is it just a matter of dressing up, or do you see yourself as a woman?  Are you sexually interested in men, women, or both?  Are you sexually active?  When you do start having sex, have you considered the importance of safe sex — some people really talk a good talk about how a condom just won’t do for them, how insisting that one be used is just a deal-breaker; are you confident and comfortable making that stand and telling them that going without is just as much of a deal-breaker for you?

I answered all of those and a few others, and she did admit that although she was somewhat surprised by the change, she was much more happy than surprised.  She had me schedule an appointment for two months out, and also let me know that she has an office in Vallejo, which will make it much easier to see her in the future!

So, tonight and tomorrow I’m staying back at my parents’ place — my brother [note: name redacted] is stopping here on his way to move to China, and I wanted the chance to see him again — it’s been a few years, and will likely be many more after that.  I figured I could handle two days back around everyone, and although it’s been stressful, and there have already been a number of really irritating things that have happened, the knowledge that I’m going back home very soon has kept me going.

More updates tomorrow after the big family get-together!

Now, I truly AM going home.

Here I sit… in an old, familiar room — 8 years I’ve lived in this very room now, and many, many more before that in other rooms in this same house over the last twenty years or more.  I’ve lived with my family — my mother, the kind soul who labored long and hard to raise me right, to do all she could to see me happy.

My dad, who has given so much more than I think I’ll ever know for me, worked countless hours at dozens of jobs to provide for my needs — and just as often for my selfish wants and whims.

My eldest brother — though I may have been the target on occasion of his wit and mischief, he has a kind and loving heart, and I miss not seeing him much anymore.

My next-older brother — musically gifted, and how I looked up to him as we grew up together… “My brother is in a band!  They’re awesome, they sound just like Depeche Mode, except BETTER!” — and how I wanted to hang out with all his friends, because they were just soooo cool!

My next-younger sister —  At times shy, but never afraid to speak what you truly feel, and your smile brought joy to my life so very many times.  That petite body hides a heart bigger than it seems there could be room for.  I know you will be a light for good wherever you go, and your love will touch the life of your child from the day he is born.

My youngest sister — We have certainly had difficult times between us, and I know I far too often maliciously manipulated you to anger, to sadness, and started many fights with you… It hurts to think that for so many years I missed out on a great friendship because I was too busy making both of us cry.  But I will never forget the countless times that we sat and talked for hours, about anything, everything, and nothing — I have learned more from you in five minutes of discussion than I frequently did in an entire year of classes at school… and I learned much more than facts and figures.  I learned about life, friendship, family, love, and how to express an opinion or thought from my heart, even if it wasn’t the same thing everyone else agreed with.  You are a hero to me, a role model and a person that I very much admire.

My family.  They truly are, and always will be mine — no matter where I go, who I know myself to be, throughout the years to come and perhaps forever, however long forever may be — and I will be theirs.  I know they love me, whether those words are spoken or not, and wish me only happiness in life.  I hope someday they can understand that my choices have indeed brought me happiness — that despite the teachings of their faith, it is possible to be truly happy without following every commandment handed down from God, that my acceptance of the woman I am will not bring me suffering and sorrow simply because God has said that my spirit was a boy before I chose to come to this earth, that I was born to this body exactly as I should have been, and that I am just a lost and confused son who would be welcome to return home to Him at any time — all I need to do is forsake my sins, deny the urges of the flesh, and accept that I am a loved child of God.

So, with all that said — on to the big news, for those who have not yet heard: I’m moving out.  I found a place to rent in Vallejo for $500 a month, including utilities, and I move in literally as soon as I can pack everything up and get it down the road.  The lady of the house is an adorable Philipino woman named [note: name redacted] — but she goes by [note: name redacted]  I have my own room, bed provided even, and space for most of the things I might wish to keep in there, including my computer desk… and there’s connections for that along with internet right in the room.  The other members of the household are an older gentleman whom I have not yet met; he’s a war veteran, but much more than that I don’t yet know… also [note: name redacted]‘s 13-year-old son, and from what I gather, one of her daughters stays there from time to time as well.  I have full kitchen access, use of the enormous living room, and the bus stop is literally just two houses down to the end of the block, or going the other way, is across the street in the same direction.

It was a truly beautiful thing to spend most of the day out and around Fairfield and Vallejo as Sophia on the outside… and felt delightful, in a kind of odd way, when I had to work to convince [note: name redacted] that my California ID with a picture of [note: old full legal name] really was my identification card — “Wait, is that your dad?”  Then again later, going out to lunch with RPJ and [note: name redacted], the charming sound of “And for you, Miss?” from our server… though I know I must have looked awkward, with my rice-stuffed breasts out of place, my only halfway-decent feminine outfit with a stretched and sagging collar, and of course, my quite masculine haircut — even so, [note: name redacted] addressed me directly as “Miss” easily 3 or 4 times over the course of our meal, with one exception where she said “Sir” — and I thank and applaud her for being so kind.  She made a difference to an already joyous day, and I hope that in making another person happy, she found happiness herself.

Still, with as happy as I am to be walking on my own, I think any child feels a sense of loss and sadness when leaving the nest for the first time; I only hope that when I walk away, it will be a parting with love and not a severing of ties that ought never to be broken.

Wow.  I’ll certainly have a LOT to tell my doctor when I see her this Thursday, though!  I’ve gone from being okay with the guy I was, living with my folks, complaining about how I felt I’d never move on, never accomplish anything… gone from that to a confident young woman, moving out, working towards truly standing on my own.

“All it takes is finding the right motivation, finding it for yourself — because nothing anyone else can do will make YOU want to do something.  Once you find that drive within yourself, once you desire that change, you can do anything you need to do.”  I’ve given words of advice quite similar to those to many people before, and I know them to be true… and I am so very glad that I found my motivation.

I am happy.  I am fearless.  I am strong…..

And I am Sophia.  Every day, from this day forward, I am Sophia.

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