Acceptance (Part Two)

Hopefully my previous post was a fair enough explanation of what’s been going on these past few months. I realized afterward that I had alluded to a thing or two in posts earlier in 2015, but I hadn’t really said much after my accident.

So where did I leave off? Oh, right, with my mom. I guess I shouldn’t be terribly surprised. If I think back carefully, it’s actually pretty easy to see the hidden traditionalist socially conservative streak my mom hides under the surface. It’s not like my dad is much better though. I think it was back in June or July, after I’d decided to transition, but before anything medical had started, I was on the phone talking to my dad. I don’t even remember what we were talking about. Maybe we were already talking about his latest batch of conspiracy theories. Regardless, the conversation turned to Caitlyn Jenner. For the record, I can’t stand her. I didn’t like him (Bruce) and I never liked that whole Kardashian gaggle of stupid people. It’s all a bunch of Hollywood “celebrity” worship, and I’ll have none of it. That’s not really the point though. As we were talking, my dad asked me if I had heard about it. I said that I had, but didn’t lead on any more than that (I didn’t even watch the interview or anything…I was merely aware that it was a thing that had happened). He immediately continued suggesting that in his opinion, this was a conspiracy to “blur gender lines” or to make it so you can “identify as anything for any reason”. I don’t even think he had a personal opinion on it. It sounded like he was just telling me these things as though they were facts he was reporting on.

So was it any wonder deciding who to talk to about this was the difference between bad and worse? I might have gotten more sympathy from my dad…I don’t know. Honestly, I wish I had a second chance. I’d like to be able to try again. I think I actually can, since I suspect my mom never said anything to my dad anyway, and she probably ignored or forgot about it since I never pressed it again after that first time.

Against my better judgement I chose to go to my parents’ house for thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was always my most favorite holiday and in the more distant past, I have very fond memories. Recent years have been far more lackluster and upsetting. I took the train, and my brother and his girlfriend were there to pick me up and take me to the house. I loved being able to see them. That was the highlight of the trip. My parents and my grandmother were already at the house. I guess I didn’t really expect much from my grandmother. I honestly thought she wouldn’t notice anything. She’s almost 90. Probably can’t see well. Certainly can’t hear well. The instant I walked in the door…and I’m talking not even having a chance to take my coat off yet. My grandmother sees me and exclaims that “with long hair like that, we should put a dress on you.” I get it, she’s 90, I’m not offended. But the speed at which it came. No “hi” greeting. Nothing. That was my greeting. My mom pretty much followed suit, constantly complaining about my hair. “Why is it so long? Why do you clip it? Why don’t you do this? Why don’t you do that?” And really, that’s what the whole time boiled down to. I felt crushed.

I guess I should mention that the only saving grace in any of this has been that my brother and his girlfriend have not only been on board since jump street, but they’ve been supportive and a friendly face if I’m struggling with my parents. I did Christmas by myself this year in order to avoid another thanksgiving fiasco, but I did link up with my brother and his girlfriend to exchange a few gifts before carpooling to see our parents (one day only). I had only recently (as of the beginning of November) asked if he wouldn’t mind switching pronouns and names for me. He had actually asked me if I wanted to back at the end of August, but I wasn’t ready at the time. I was incredibly touched by the fact that when he made a tag for the gift he got me, he wrote “Hadley” on it.

I’m sure at some extreme level, it’s not, but sometimes it’s hard for me to feel like my parents’ love isn’t conditional. So much of my life has been focused on making them like me, and approve of me. Sometimes to garner preferential treatment and accolades, other times just to keep the peace. It was a lot easier to make major life decisions based on what my dad wanted rather than deal with the fallout from following anything but The One True Path™. As the oldest, I felt it was my personal responsibility to keep the peace in the family. To make sure that emotional blows were absorbed. Let my mom bitch to me about my dad, and not pass it along. Let my dad bitch to me about my mom, and not pass it along. Constantly wondering why there was so much pettiness and lack of understanding, love and respect. And the few times I got fed up, and just broke down and called them on it, I was accused of being dramatic.

I’d been unhappy in my life for a very, very long time. Things teetered from ages 11-14, but fell down completely once I got into high school and beyond. In high school, I kept extremely quiet about my increasing malaise and discomfort. I had personal internet access for the first time ever halfway through my sophomore year in high school. I think that allowed me to keep up appearances as I scoured the internet in search of what I was. I must’ve searched for everything back then. For a long time I latched onto personality types. It seemed to at least be a pretty accurate description, and made it easier to find people allegedly like me, but it was hollow. Things still weren’t lining up, and I wasn’t getting better. I still kept quiet. At that age, it’s very easy to tell yourself that things will get better. It’s a temporary problem. My future seemed bright enough (as my dad would’ve told it). Maybe just wait for that.

That future never really materialized though. It was like a carrot hanging on a stick in front of a donkey. It always seemed to be the same distance away, no matter how far into the future I got. Eventually towards the end of my time in college, I started hinting to my parents (with honesty) about the true nature of my malaise, though I didn’t really understand it at the time myself. I started to finally make my discomforts known. Just a little at first, but by the time I had graduated and moved out on my own, I had a handful of extremely frank, honest conversations with my mom. My discomfort must’ve been known by her by then, and in none of our conversations did it get any better.

Eventually I started to feel bad that my sadness and malaise were making my mom upset. No one wants to see their child upset like that. I started to resent myself for not being able to be a nice, normal, well-adjusted child for her. I didn’t want her to worry about me. I’m sure I didn’t make it easy, and there were a few times when conversations with her even grazed into my darkest thoughts. I guess I thought that maybe she’d truly understand what was at stake if I included more honesty. She only turned it around on me and framed it as me hurting her.

I guess the picture I’m painting here is that I was not good, and my mom absolutely knew this. So when I finally started unraveling the real bits of myself and what was up, and how to finally feel ok, better and happy for the first time in at least a decade, I thought she’d be overjoyed. To me, that’s what unconditional love is. In particular, that’s what unconditional parental love is. If I had a kid like me, and they told me what I told my mom, I’d feel two things. First, I’d feel relief. Relief that they were getting what they needed. Relief that they were finally maybe going to start finding the same kind of happiness most people have. Second though, I’d feel sadness. I’d feel sadness because I was unaware for so long that my kid was struggling with this. Sadness that they were struggling, and I didn’t know and didn’t help. I would’ve wanted to help, of course!

Instead I got my mom saying it was all bullshit. I needed a hug, and I got a scoff. I know it’s hard to understand. I know it’s weird. I’m not asking that she be able to accept that right away at all. I was asking for the unconditional love that should’ve been there. The love that would’ve allowed her to say, “I don’t understand, but I do trust you and love you and want you to feel better and live a happy life.”

I’m not saying that my mom doesn’t love me, I’m sure she does, but the instant dismissal and disbelief…after I put my completely open heart and feelings on the line. I bared my unfiltered feelings and self to her. Of course I love my mom too. I’m never going to stop loving my mom. I think I’m within my rights to say that this hurt. It hurt a lot. It’s the one thing I think about continuously nowadays. I wish so badly I could’ve gotten a loving hug instead of dismissal. I hope that I can get something eventually. I’m not willing to give up.

So that pretty much brings us right up to the present. It’s an ongoing journey and an ongoing challenge. I have to wake up every day and consciously choose to continue. If nothing else, I’ve been able to keep things going so far, and really that’s all there is to it. Just keep stepping forward.

Acceptance

First of all, I realize it’s been a while since I’ve done any writing here. It’s been a very busy, exciting and scary past few months. I was pretty seriously injured in a road bike accident at the end of August and spent most of September recovering from that.

As bad as that accident was, it wasn’t the biggest news from August that I neglected to mention. It’s hard to name the precise reason why I’ve been so shy about discussing it openly. Actually, as of this past September, it’s been a year since making the first tentative moves. I don’t have this timeline enumerated anywhere, so I’m adding it here for posterity.

I think I’ve always kept most things very hush hush from literally everyone in my life, even though that’s never been too many people. From September 2014 to around January 2015, I mulled over some things in my own head, and discussed with others in relative anonymity online in forums and occasionally on Reddit. I was worried and afraid, and I didn’t want to preemptively say anything to anyone before I felt sure enough. On January 19th, 2015 I texted my brother and threw it out there: I was pretty sure I was transgender and was going to transition, male to female.

I was honestly unsure what his reaction would be. How can you ever be sure what someone’s reaction will be to something like that? It wouldn’t have mattered if I’d told him every damn secret I ever had. No other secret would have approached the severity of what I just told him. He was very cool about it, and in those very early days, it made a lot of difference. It was almost anticlimactic.

A few days later, on January 22nd, I texted my oldest friend from high school. We’re not as close as we once were, but I can still count on him to call me out on something that might be bullshit. I had to convince him I was not messing around since we have a history of creating elaborate fake situations to mess with mutual friends. This was not that sadly, but I was able to convince him. He was surprised, but didn’t outright disbelieve what I was saying. Though he did find me a few days later to confirm that I hadn’t gone off the rails completely, and that this wasn’t the result of some mental break (it wasn’t).

So for a while, that was it. I didn’t say anything to anyone else. I mentioned it to my therapist about a month later. Though, it being outside her area of expertise, all she could do was help me continue to navigate my way through what I was discovering myself.

Through a highly fortuitous Reddit encounter, I happened to find out that there was a transgender health clinic nearby. I soon had the location, phone number and name of the doctor there. I still don’t know what prompted me to make that call. I’ve always been terrible on the phone. Calling for pretty much anything, I get nervous, my voice tends to shake, I stutter a lot, but this was completely different. As scary as it was for me to vocalize on the phone, “yes, I’d like to make an appointment at the transgender health clinic” it all came out very matter of factly. I spoke clearly and wasn’t even that nervous. My first appointment was in the middle of May 2015.

The first appointment was very brief, but it filled me with confidence. She made it very clear to me that this was my journey, at my pace, whatever I’m comfortable with whenever I’m comfortable with it. I left with informed consent papers for HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and a followup appointment in 2 months. I managed to hold things together for that time, and not psyche myself out. The next appointment was a full physical to help establish a baseline of what we were starting with. I actually hadn’t had a full physical in years, and it was pretty uncomfortable. Fortunately, I spoke up, and the doc made it as easy and quick as she could for me.

After that appointment, another month went by so I could come back, look over the blood work, make sure I’d had time to read over the informed consent papers and make me good to go. I had actually worked up the courage to sign the papers some time beforehand. That was my own process, on my own timeline. There were just countless hours of hard self introspection. It was honestly exhausting. Feeling terrified but also incredibly optimistic. We discussed some final things, and I walked out that morning in mid August with a prescription for low-dose HRT and a stupid grin on my face.

I was pretty nervous about picking the stuff up at the pharmacy. Actually, I’m surprised I wasn’t worse about it. Again, like when I made the original appointment, it just sort of happened. I was surprisingly calm, grounded and collected.

It was a pretty low dose of things to start, but I want to make it very clear what those first two weeks were like. First, I can’t remember a time sleeping so well. Just getting myself into bed at night, and feeling genuinely relaxed in a way that I hadn’t ever really been before. Everything else was great too. I felt so relaxed. So calm. So at peace. I wish everyone could experience catching fleeting glimpses of themselves in glass panes and smiling so big because you love what you see for the first time ever. I say it to anyone who asks: HRT did for me in two weeks what antidepressants couldn’t do in three years. Sure, there’s a lot of other stuff swirling around…practical matters, ongoing doubts, future prediction and the fears therein, but for the first time in my life, I felt ok just being. It’s honestly hard for me to describe, and it was entirely unexpected. Everything else aside, I just felt right. I felt calm, present and right. I’m fond of using car metaphors for this stuff and I often described it as like pouring diesel into a diesel engine for the first time in its life instead of regular unleaded. I try not to be overly dramatic about things, but I think it saved my life. Certainly in the long term. It was starting to become extremely unclear how much longer I could keep things going the way they were.

Those first weeks were amazing, and the start of the first genuine improvement in my life. Unfortunately, my accident happened right after those two weeks. It’s unclear what caused it and I suffered a concussion so I still don’t remember. The best hypothesis from my doctor is that the anti-androgen which is also a diuretic contributed to dehydration and electrolyte loss and I passed out in the saddle. The only problem was that I was just beginning my descent of a 2200FT climb. I broke my right collarbone, my left thumb, had road rash on my leg and my arm, bruised ribs and the concussion. It was my first and only major accident in well over 7000 miles of riding, but it did help me see one thing: life is short. In the previous two weeks, I had seen genuine happiness. Doubts would come and go, but this was something I had to do. This was my shot.

Since then and since recovering things have continued to improve. I went up from the low dose HRT to a more standard dose. I love how I feel. Sometimes things are still really tough, and fighting depression is an ongoing battle, but I feel like my head is so much clearer now. I wish I could help all people understand this about trans people. Regardless of any of the extraneous fluff, the fact is that I’m going to be ok now. I feel like a regular person, engaged in life, and ready to continue it. How could anyone justify wanting to take that away from me?

In early October I finally decided to tell my parents, or at least my mom so she could tell my dad. I still don’t feel like I have the kind of relationship with my dad that makes talking about something like this possible. It’s not that he’s unaccepting, but there’s just so little precedent for talking with him about personal matters in my life. With my dad, it’s always been all business and the few times we have delved into the personal, it makes it’s way into a business discussion. It was my dad who for years discouraged me from dating (curiously he didn’t do the same for my brother or sister) because I should “build myself, and build a career…then people would want me”. I had a feeling telling my mom was going to be bad, so I wrote up an email that was as concise as I could make it. I focused on the key elements that I thought couldn’t possibly be controversial. I was happier. I don’t do things hastily. I was excited about living my life for the first time ever.

It did not go well. It went horribly. My mom accused me of “following a bandwagon” and that I could “never be a girl” and that all of this was because of reasons X, Y and Z. It breaks my heart that she seemed to completely gloss over the most important part: me being happier. In fact, it never even came up. I blamed myself for not conveying my improved mood well enough. The hardest part is that I know now that how I feel isn’t terribly unique. I’ve read plenty of other trans people describe uncannily similar feelings of defectiveness, downward spiraling, and hopelessness on life that abated when they started transition. The only difference being the parents in those scenarios were too overjoyed that their kid was doing better to give a shit about what gender they were doing it as. My heart is truly broken. I had a single long discussion on the phone with my mom about the email a week later (which I had to bring up) that ended up devolving into a full-on blow-out argument about all kinds of old bullshit that has no relevance to me today and no relevance to my decision to transition.

I haven’t brought it up since, and I don’t intend to at least until I can come up with a better angle. I suspect she didn’t even take it seriously enough to bother telling my dad at all. At first I thought that maybe I needed to demonstrate that I was doing better, but I don’t live near my parents, so it’s hard to do that. Now though, I feel that’s an excessive burden of proof on my part, and one I don’t feel is fair. I told my mom sincerely and with great difficulty how I felt. That should be enough. That should be more than enough. I wish she knew how hard it was for me to share that with her. I wish she knew that I wanted to tell her because I care about her.

To be continued…

Needs and Desires

Putting my own needs and desires first for once. It’s ok to take the time and work on becoming the real you because you want to. Not because it’ll make your parents happier, or make you a more appealing partner. I don’t think I’ve ever truly put my feelings at the forefront. There was always a what if about what others might think, or about what I was supposed to do. I’ve only got one life to live. I want to make sure I’m happy when I look into the mirror. Happy as the real me and not some shell waiting on a miracle fix that probably won’t come. I’m the only one who has to suffer the pain of the outcomes of my choices and I’m the only one who gets to experience the joy from my choices. Nobody else feels the hurt I do when I throttle or modify my life for their sake. I feel that hurt. It’s time to stop feeling that hurt. I don’t have to. I can feel happy.

New Project Idea

I try not to hate too much in the world. It’s toxic. It’s often counterproductive. It doesn’t even make sense much of the time. But if there’s one thing I’m comfortable saying that I hate, it’s when people pat themselves on the back for something they think is great, but it really isn’t that great. In this instance, I’m talking about electric cars.

What exactly is the problem here? Are my choices really a $70K+ Tesla that can generally work like a regular car or a Nissan Leaf that has seriously limited range? I call bullshit. Regular hard working people want to get in on electric cars for the savings and to help the environment. Why isn’t there an electric car out there that’s affordable and doesn’t suck?

I see a situation like that and it screams “opportunity” to me. I know I could design and build a car that could meet those requirements if I had the backing. I’d make it the greatest company too. I’d locate it near where I live now where there isn’t hardly any manufacturing industry, but there is old unused infrastructure and labor available.

This is something I really want to do, but I have no idea where to start. At first I got a sketchbook and started designing a car. I took notes on any and all random ideas I had. I felt like it worked out well. I had lots of sketches and notes about what I felt were good design ideas and things people hadn’t considered before. But that’s where it ended. It’s a huge leap from designs in a notebook to a working prototype. Not to mention I have nothing even resembling the funds or resources to get something like that built. All I have is the knowledge, the vision, and the skills.

I dropped the idea for about a year since it seemed like such a dead end. Recently though, it occurred to me that maybe there was a kind of stepping stone that could work. What if I went out and found an old go-kart frame ripped out the gas engine and built it up as an electric buggy to proof-of-concept my ideas? Used go-karts aren’t always cheap, but a frame should be super cheap. I don’t even want the bearings and wheels, since I would replace them.

My vision for this electric buggy would be to actually use a number of bicycle components because they’re easy to get, relatively cheap and I’m very familiar with them. I’d use big, meaty mountain bike tires and have all four wheels equipped with disc brakes. With an electric motor, there’s no complicated torque converter or centrifugal clutch. It can pretty much direct drive the wheels. One of the ideas for my full sized electric car was to use four motors as opposed to one. This would make the car all-wheel drive on demand basically. I wonder if it would be cheap enough that I could do it on the electric buggy as well.

Anyway, I’m starting to think this might be my next big project. My PV power station is basically in maintenance mode right now. There isn’t much to improve about it, though I often think of how I might expand its capacity and power. An electric buggy, especially one with excellent ground clearance provided by mountain bike tires, would be a fun class-4 road or just off-road toy. Though it would certainly work fine on pavement as well.

It’s so frustrating to me that the hangup in all of this is my lack of funds and time. I work full time and I don’t have the extra funds to drive something like this. How do you get to that place? How do you make ideas reality? I want people to have a choice of an electric car that they can afford, and I’m tired of people praising Tesla like it’s the best thing since sliced bread. When only super rich people can afford it, it’s not.

Vacation Day 2

Well, not my second day, but the second day of me doing something. I went to a nice lake that was seriously in the middle of nowhere. It was kind of cold out, but the water was warm. I only waded in it a bit. Kip had a great time.

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A New Friend

I can’t really claim credit for this idea, but I’m excited to share my take on it here. One of the things that gets me down when I travel is there aren’t many pictures of myself. That’s not horrible. How many pictures of me do I really need? But I also travel alone, so taking pictures of myself means they pretty much have to be staged somehow. I have to set up a tripod, figure out the timer, all that stuff. Never mind that I don’t get to take pictures of anyone else.

I have a week off and I’m planning on doing a little bit of local traveling so all these thoughts have come to the forefront again. It’s easy to get down about it. Someone recently shared with me this website: http://www.postcardsfromgoat.com. I thought it was a super cute idea. It’s kind of like that thing where people put a URL on dollar bills and people log in and track them. I liked it because it was a cute stuffed animal, and people were treating it as though it was going on these adventures with them.

So I thought about it and tried to think of what I might like to do that was similar. I wanted to get a cute stuffed animal that I could take with me on my travels and take pictures of. While I’ve always been very fond of my stuffed toys, and felt they should have meaning, I didn’t know where I could get one I wanted locally, so I found one online.

It’s a koala. I think I’m going to call him Kip. He’s very soft, and adorable to the max. I hope we have many fun adventures together. While he’s not a person, I think it’s a very good substitute.

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Me & Kip

Me & Kip

Ready to Roll

Sometimes I think I’m an idiot. I get all anxious about things and forget that I’m actually really smart, and can really problem solve if I want to. So I have my new (used) car and I think I’ve finally put it through all its shakedown cruises. I know it’s quirks. I’m confident in driving it. So I can take it on a little road trip, right? Oops, shouldn’t have thought of that. Here are some doubts, fears and things to be anxious about. Traveling alone. What if something goes wrong? Fears fears fears worries fears worries…

Or…or I could use the fleshy thing inside my skull to help mitigate those concerns. That’s what I decided to do today. I ended up spending a pretty substantial amount of money, but in the grander scheme of things, it had to be done. If it helps me do the things I want to do in life, then it’s worth every penny.

Actually, I had started this process when I first brought my car home. I decided that I drive a lot and with two cars now, AAA is probably well worth the money. I think it was like $80 for a year of roadside assistance and up to 200 miles of towing. Done. That’s a no brainer in my opinion. But then I stopped. As though AAA would solve all of my concerns. It helped with the big ones, but I was still worried.

Today I put together the beginnings of a kit for my car that basically just makes me feel better. There are still some things I want to add, but all the stuff I got represented a pretty substantial chunk of change, so I’ll add in other things as I can. Anyway, here’s the spread:

spread

I’ll do a rundown of everything I got, rough costs and why I got it. From top to bottom:

  • 1 quart Castrol GTX 10W-30 motor oil ($6.50): Look, my car is 25 years old. It burns oil at some rate. Unless it’s hemorrhaging oil so badly that I need a tow, a quart of the good stuff gives me peace of mind.
  • 8-Gauge Booster Cables ($24): To be perfectly honest, I’m surprised I didn’t already have a set of these. I got the nice 8-Gauge ones even though they were about $10 more because why not?
  • Hydrogen Peroxide ($1.50): Tried and true.
  • Bactine ($8.30): The stuff you didn’t want mom to spray on your scrapes as a kid. Between this and the hydrogen peroxide, I feel confident that any minor scrapes or injuries will be no problem.
  • Shop Gloves ($17): Have you ever tried to work on a car with bare hands? It’s a pain in the ass. Worse if you’re near part of the engine that’s warm or hot. Save the bactine and hydrogen peroxide for injuries that can’t be avoided.
  • 50FT Nylon Braided Rope ($7): Rope is one of those things that’s really versatile for its cost. Just a silly thing NOT to have.
  • Mini-can of WD-40 ($3): I’d rank WD-40 right underneath duct tape in the list of handy tools to have. On an older car that has a lot of seized or rusted bolts/parts, WD-40 is going to be the difference between cursing for 2 hours and sitting and waiting for 2 hours.
  • First-Aid Kit ($14): Normally I don’t like pre-packaged first-aid kits because you don’t know what’s in them, or what the quality is, but this was pretty cheap, had some things I didn’t want to buy separately and just seemed like a nice addition to my kit. It includes:
    • (2) Butterfly bandages
    • (1) Medical tape 1/2″ x 10 yards
    • (3) Knuckle Bandages
    • (5) 1 x 3″ Bandages
    • (1) Conforming Gauze
    • (2) Sterile gauze dressing
    • (3) Antiseptic towelettes
    • (2) Triple antibiotic ointment
    • (2) 200mg ibuprofen tablets
    • (2) 25mg diphenhydramine tablets
    • (2) Anti-Bite sting/itch relief
    • (11) Moleskin blister patches
    • (2) Alcohol swabs
    • (1) Splinter picker / tick removal forceps
    • (3) Safety pins
  • Stoke Firestarting Kit ($11): I’ve always kept a box of matches in the car. I was actually going to buy a tube of the weatherproof matches for my kit here, but saw this and thought it was a better option. It’s a waterproof steel tube with a flint striker, several pieces of flint and tinder. Why do I prefer this? Because even if all of it got soaked the flint striker will still create a good spark. I tried it out with a cotton ball just to see how easy it was. Answer? Extremely easy.
  • Emergency Poncho ($2): Silly thing to not have. Small, cheap, easy and the difference between being wet and unhappy and dry and much better.
  • USB Car Charger ($13): These things are so cheap nowadays. With cellphones that have batteries that don’t last very long, it helps that while you’re car is running, you know your phone is topped off. I actually use this exact same one with my PV power station. It works great and has 1.5 amp and 2.1 amp ports for phones and tablets respectively.
  • Heavy Duty Weatherproof Duct Tape ($10): Don’t cheap out on this. Don’t get the imitation ones. Get the brand name 3M stuff.
  • Roll of Gauze 2″ x 2.5 yards ($3): Cheap thing to have that has many uses. This stuff works great on larger scrapes where a band-aid won’t do.
  • Antibiotic Band-Aids ($4): Self explanatory.
  • LED Flashlight ($24): Very bright. Weatherproof. Drop/shock proof. Two brightness settings. 1 AA alkaline battery. LED bulbs don’t burn out. They’re much brighter. Make sure you get a flashlight that takes alkaline batteries (the fewer the better). Why? Because you can store alkalines for a long time. They’re cheaper and easier to find than lithium which some fancy flashlights take. A Maglight is probably also a good choice here, but I don’t know if they have LED versions. I love my mini-mag, but the xenon bulbs it uses burn out too often.

So is this kit complete? Not quite. I’m very satisfied with what I have here, and would feel safe going out with it. Some things that I’d probably also just throw in the trunk would be my ratchet set and a towel. For the kit, I’d also like to have a nice leatherman multi-tool. I didn’t see any that I liked at the camping store today, so I’ll probably look online. I’m also going to look into some kind of non-perishable food to keep in the kit. I’ve heard almonds are good for that. If I wanted to be super prepared, I guess I could get some MRE-style pre-packaged storable meals. I’m also going to get another pack of bungee cords. I have some in my primary car that I got before a camping trip some years ago. They are way more useful than I initially thought! I’m not sure but I might also get a second crow bar as well. I bought one for my Subaru last winter because I had to have some way of knocking the ice off from the wheel wells. Best. Purchase. Ever.

I’d also really like to have some kind of water purification system available to me. They had so many options at the camping store, but that’s out of my realm of expertise. My brother is a pretty serious wilderness/backwoods person, and I know he’s done water purification things before, so I’m going to ask him about it.

Longer term things to think about? I really would like to get a gun. It’s something I’ve thought about for a really long time. I don’t want anything insane, basically one step above a BB gun would be preferable. I’m very partial to the Walther PPK .22LR. One thing people don’t realize is that guns are loud. Sometimes just shooting one can be enough to scare away a bear or moose or whatever. Obviously there’s a lot more involved in getting a gun, and I’d need to learn to shoot it, but I’m pretty sure it’s something I want to do.

Future Version of Me

I don’t know if there’s any truth to it or not, but I think antidepressant medication causes strange dreams. I used to have recurring dreams where my car got stolen or just moved somewhere other than where I left it. Another recurring dream I sometimes still have basically revolves around the world ending in some way. It was always different, but always disturbing and upsetting.

I try not to put too much weight in dreams. To me, if they’re good, fine. If they’re not good then all they’re doing is ruining a good night’s sleep for me. That said, occasionally “interesting” dreams come along that I feel are worth remembering. Before I forget it, I want to write about one of those here.

There was a lot of stuff going on that was relatively unimportant and random. I think I was helping people move a bunch of stuff and load it onto a trailer. There were a number of people about, most of whom I didn’t know. A few seemed to have names of people I know in real life, but weren’t actually those people. I think it was when we were done loading the trailer with stuff I was walking back to some house with a few other people. There was one girl in the group who I was talking to. She seemed really familiar, but was not anyone I know in real life.

Anyway, we were talking and getting along quite well. She was very nice. Ok, I can’t believe I’m going to write this so candidly here, but it’s critical to the story, so I can’t leave it out or allude to what I’m talking about. We somehow began talking about transgender people and transitioning. I mentioned that I was starting to work on just that. She stopped, and said that it was a big deal, and that I should know that it was what I really wanted. I replied that it was, and that it was very important to me. Seemingly satisfied, we continued walking to the house and continued chatting. I remember she was so nice. She seemed so familiar.

When we arrived at the house I realized that I hadn’t gotten her name. I asked her and she replied that her name was “Scotty” which is about as feminine a version of my given name as you can get. Then she walked into the house. I remember feeling stunned, like I had just witnessed the twist at the end of an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Then I woke up.

Was that girl me? Was that why she seemed so familiar? The dream left me feeling so good. Like some potential future version of myself met up with me in a dream as if to tell me that “yes, I am you. Things are going to be ok.”