Excuse me. I’m going to need a moment.

Yesterday was a bittersweet day for me. After three weeks of caffeine-deprived depression, I finally had enough and got back in touch with the wonder-bean. All day yesterday, I was back to my old self again and loving it. However, all that came crashing down again at 4:10 in the afternoon when I received a department wide e-mail that my best friend at IMP had decided it was time to retire.

Holly started out in the Illustrating department not long after I got there and it really didn’t take long for me and everyone else to just fall in love with her charm, her smile and a personality that defies description. Over the next 25 years, we had become great friends at work but the friendship didn’t really reach new heights until we decided to become co-members in the best damn car pool the world has ever known. It wasn’t until these last 4 years though that she became so much more to me than a friend. She was…

is…

my rock. I always tell people how fortunate I feel because my transition at work seemed virtually painless. What most people don’t know is that Holly played a huge part in that for me. That first year was actually like a roller coaster of emotions and she was there for me whenever I needed help with keeping it together. I can’t say for certain that I would’ve made it without her. Now that she’s leaving, I’m suddenly becoming aware that it wasn’t just that first year that I needed her; it was all of them. I feel like my world just fell apart.

Believe me when I say that I’m so very happy that she’s at a point in her life where she can leave work behind and enjoy the rest of life with her family. She deserves nothing short of everything good and wonderful that life has to offer.

However, right now, I need to be selfish. I miss her already and feel lost with no direction. My heart aches.

The Rant

The following is based merely on my own personal experiences and observations.  I make no claim to say that the words that follow are factual.  They are merely observations.  My apologies for focusing on the gender binary here as well.  If you feel you don’t fit into the binary, please don’t feel I’m attempting to put you there in this post.

Well, here it is.

The rant.

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Coming to Grips

Isn’t it funny how some childhood memories can have such a seemingly vice-like grip on our psyche so much that it can take decades to get over them?  It’s so sad that it took this long for me to get past this particular one but I’m finally coming to grips with it and the smile it’s bringing to my face at this moment is probably more genuine than any other I’ve given to the camera lens.

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The Gift That Keeps Giving

Saturday afternoon, my softball team mates were a little surprised when I told them I had to leave one of our playoff games early to go get a couple tattoos. A few of the questions I heard were, “Why did you pick today of all days to schedule that appointment?” and “Why didn’t you get them earlier?” or “Why can’t you get them next week?”

Today is September 10.  If that date sounds familiar, you may remember that it was one year ago on this date, that I felt it was time to open up about a subject that is very important to me.  That subject is suicide.

So today marks World Suicide Prevention Day and one of the ways people are asked to help raise awareness of this is to simply write “Love” on their wrist and wear something yellow.  Last year, I didn’t hesitate to pick up that marker…

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This year, I’m going 364 steps beyond that and will try to help raise awareness every day.  Every year.

So please remember to never be afraid or too busy to listen to that friend or loved one who wants to open up to you and please don’t ever be afraid to open up to someone if you feel you have nowhere to turn.  I have been there.

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Happy Father’s Day

Today is the day when we all celebrate our Dads (if we choose to do so).  Seeing all of my friends posting pictures and stories about their wonderful childhood memories of the fathers, it just made me a little sad.  My father passed away when I was ten and although he never came close to being father of the year, he was still the only dad I had.

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Do I have wonderful memories to share about my dad?  I’m sure if I cared to think long and hard about it, I could probably come up with few.  Swinging me around in circles while he held one or my hands and feet so it felt like I was flying.  That’s a good memory for me.  Unfortunately, the not-so-great memories far outnumber the good ones.  

Dad was a heavy smoker and a heavy drinker.  He was abusive and mean to his family.  Sadly, I was always “complimented” on many occasions that I reminded people of him.  This always confused me since I was none of those things.  It wasn’t until later that I realized that most people didn’t see the same man I did; so I now take it as a compliment.  It seems that I had somehow managed to inherit a lot of the good my father had in him while still managing to leave out most of the bad.  I’m usually reminded that it’s his humour people see in me the most. 

It was a long time ago that my father’s anger finally stopped for good but it still manages to continue on in my own memories of him, even now.  I would love to simply forget all the bad things my father did and only remember the good but it simply isn’t happening.  So, I do what most people do.  I ignore.  Except on this day… when ignoring seems quite impossible. 

I know he’s still watching me and I’m confident he’s sorry for being the man he was.  I forgave him quite some time ago.  I had to.  I could never truly be happy while still holding on to the hate and anger I was feeling for him.  I only hope my mom and sisters have done the same.

So I have now decided to forget my dad for who he was and remember him for one thing: 

Me.  

So many wonderful things have happened to me in my own life and I can’t ignore the fact that none of them would have happened if he hadn’t brought me into this world.  Sure, life was rough for me at times, but it’s all working out so beautifully for me now and if it wasn’t for him, I never would have experienced fatherhood myself.  I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get it right; to show him it could be done differently and prove that anger and hate have no place in the hearts of the ones I love. 

Happy Fathers Day Dad.  Keep watching because I’m not done yet; not even close. <3

The Meaning of Love

So this is a story that actually unfolded over the course of many months over on Facebook.  If you’re friends with me over there, you know that I post a lot.  No really… A LOT.  So I felt compelled to compile this little story into a single post in the hopes that it can be better appreciated for what it was… is… will be.  

Yes… DO read more.  I promise. You won’t regret it.

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I woke up this morning feeling good. I was prepared to go about my day as I always do. Shower, Facebook, work, coffee, coffee, coffee, home. However, I was struck square in the gut when I went on Facebook this morning. A friend had posted a status update informing everyone that today is Suicide Awareness Day.

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Sissy Boy

For the last few years now, part of the process of this transition has been about reflection.  No, I’m not talking about who I see in the mirror although that’s very important to me as well.  What I’m talking about is reflection upon my past.  So many of my childhood memories have been obliterated by an abusive parent while this internal struggle I somehow unknowingly had been going through, kept itself protectively hidden.  So obviously, the questions start to arise.

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A Dark Day with a Bright Night

I decided to write something different today.  I know my posts are usually humorous (at least I think they are) but the last few days have been a little rough to say the least.  I’m going to write about my friend, Raymond Taavel who’s life was violently cut short by the product of a failed judicial system (but that’s another story).  Outlined below are the bulk of my experiences with Raymond from the day we met until his passing yesterday.

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The Story of Joe

It goes without saying (if you’ve been paying attention), that my transition at work has been a source of stress and eventual happiness and contentment.  Before beginning my real life experience, the thought of presenting myself everywhere else in the world was at first a little scary but the thought of going to work was, to say the least, terrifying to me.  I thought I completely understood why I found it so terrifying but over the last 2 months, I’ve slowly come to the realization what it was that was causing me such distress.

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