As much as Toby’s been helping — and she still is — there are some things she can’t help with.

My pain levels are increasing, and with them comes increased sleep. My cats are suffering for it because I’m not awake to feed them. No matter how much I love them, I can’t deny they deserve better than this, and yet I doubt someone else will be able to take care of them half as well.

I’ve decided they will be my last cats. Toby will be my only bird.

After being unable to sleep normally thanks to pain, drugging myself to sleep through it, then waking 16 hours later in even more pain, I sit here in tears at the prospect that this is all I have to look forward to for the rest of my life. Another 50 years of this? No.


I’ve known for a long time that one of the souls I have comes from Japan. He was not a nice person — he was an exceptionally terrible excuse for a human, actually — and was put into a female body so he’d personally know what he inflicted upon the women of his time. He’s the primary reason I identify the way I do and experience so much body dysphoria.

I’ve decided I will take him home. In ten or so years, when I have no more animal companions to keep me here, I will go to Japan and let him go. He belongs at home with his people. He’s not happy here. He never has been. He will be happy again there.

The other soul I have is female and somewhat indeterminate. She’s prevalent mostly in dreams, where I tend to dream of being female and experience a nightmarish mishmash of the scarring things I’ve gone through, usually involving school and my abusive ex-husband. Now, I cry every time I watch Moana, and I’ve figured out why: the way the essences of life and death are represented in it are so pure and beautiful to me, and that’s what sets me off. The movie’s writers took great pains to ensure the people’s way of life was respectfully and accurately depicted, and it resonated so strongly with my female soul that I think that general area is where she’s from. I read this article about Polynesian death culture and kept saying, “Yes! Yes!” to each point I read because everything felt true.

I’ve decided I will take her there after I’ve brought the male soul home. I will reunite her with her ocean mother.

The third soul will go home to the star mother. Back to the beginning to start anew. Maybe this time it’ll get a pair that works. The shell will simply turn back into dirt: it borrowed a shape, and, when the souls are safely home, it’ll be time to give it back.

Now, there is a plan. Now, I must work to see it through. Now, I must make sure I leave nothing behind that will inconvenience others to dispose of.