A small amendment.

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After listening to Toby contact call every bird she hears, whether it’s an actual bird or one she hears through my speakers, I’ve decided she will not be my only bird. Birds are social creatures, and, as much as she’s bonded with me, I’m not another bird. She’s lonely for her own kind, and I can’t do that to her for the rest of her life.

The bird store I get my supplies from happens to have two linnies, a male and female that used to be a breeding pair but are now kept separately. Linnies are semi-flock birds, i.e. they get along better in smaller numbers, and only with their own kind; trying to get them to flock with different kinds of birds usually results in a dead bird, regardless of what “the Internet” says.

So, come next cheque, Toby will have a lovely green girlfriend. I’m not sure how old she is — I think I was told around 2 or 3 years old when I was there last — but the site now says all their linnies are seniors, and some company for a while is better than none. If nothing else, it’ll give me time to work on getting another from Toby’s breeder, if I can.

I try not to be so sunk into my own bloody misery that I drag innocent things down into the mire with me. I try.

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Three-ish months later.

The days have gone by in an amorphous haze. Every one is a blob filed under “existing.”

I’ve kept up with the testosterone shots in a timely fashion; my next one is later this week. Some of the physical changes were noticeable within the first week, particularly clitoral growth and sensitivity — that was interesting (read: uncomfortable) for a while — and existing body hair in a few places has gotten longer, but not thicker. Body weight distribution is beginning to shift to encompass more of my midsection. Some breast sensitivity showed up a week ago. My voice is beginning to crack at the higher registers and deepen at the lower ones, if inconsistently. Most notable and annoying is my skin drying out, my scalp being the worst spot, and a sudden abundance of small pimples on my face along my hairlines. I find I have to shower more often.

Psychologically, well. The airheadedness faded, thank fuck, and I’ve had several bouts of impostor syndrome while struggling to figure out more of my personal identity. Executive dysfunction has worsened. The worst things right now are the anhedonia and complete blankness of inner emotion. There’s just nothing there. I’d be worried about it if I could be. I’ll tell my psychiatrist about it when I see her next week.

The body dysphoria waxes and wanes, and I no longer leave the house without wearing a binder. Assuming I wake in time, tomorrow I’ll call the trans doc to get on the top surgery list for the surgeon I’ve chosen. I’ve been spending a lot of time saying goodbye to my breasts, looking at them in the mirror and remembering how much I wanted them when I still identified as female and hadn’t hit puberty yet. Now, they’re in the way, inconvenient and distressing to see, yet they’ve been such a fixture of my body over the last 30 years that I know I’m going to miss them for a while.

In other news, this is Sofia.

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She’s a Salvi Mia harp, and something of a mixed blessing because, in a nutshell (non-nutshell version here on Pillowfort, a site I hope will replace Tumblr soon), she represents a bribe from my parents (mostly my dad) for my affection after I stopped accepting anything from them over the last year due to their emotional abuse. She’s also about 20 years too late, since that was the last time I played a harp with any regularity, and my situation at that point in my life effectively killed any passion I had for creating anything related to fine arts. My pain levels and deteriorating brainmeats are now the biggest obstacles to just sitting and playing.

And so my existence plods along on its alcohol crutches.

One small step.

On 2 June 2017 at 5:19 pm, I received my first testosterone shot.

Thus far, all I’ve noticed is a sudden airheadedness: I managed to forget pasta on the stove until it burnt four times in a row. I hope it eases.

I am very, very thankful for my doctors.

Decisions.

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.

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.

Clinging.

Is it worth the trouble it takes trying to live life so that someday you get something worthwhile out of it, instead of it almost always taking worthwhile things out of you?

Carrie Fisher, The Princess Diarist 

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to answer this question in the affirmative, to be quite brutally honest, and yet I keep scraping for reasons to. It all feels so futile.

Recently, I added a linnie to my shrinking list of reasons to persist: a bird breeder to whom I’d expressed interest contacted me a few days ago, asking if I wanted one of the two unspoken-for turquoise linnies she was hand raising. Fool that I am, I said yes, and, fool that I am, find myself looking forward to meeting this bird. I’ve already caught myself thinking about where to put the cage when I’m up, looking at linnie-specific training methods, wondering how I’m going to sleep with the cage on my dresser. I already know I’m going to the bird shop come next cheque to buy a cage and toys.

I’m about to make a commitment — not just to taking care of a new little life, but to outliving its span, which is at least another ten years.

What the hell am I doing?