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Hello to all of you who were so unfortunate as to stumble upon this journal:

I am Diana Athena Clarion, first in war, first in peace, and last in the American League.  I am a woman much like any other, a woman who lives, who loves, who worries about making ends meet, who tries to be friend and companion to her kitties and the occasional human.  I am also a woman unlike most, because when I was born, the attending physician took a quick look at me and pronounced "It's a boy."  He got it wrong.  He got it wrong because he could have had no idea that my brain would tell another story.  He had no idea that I was truly a girl.

Over the fifty-plus years between that day and today, I have been on a journey.  I have been on a journey that began with my realizing, at quite the early age, that there was something different about me.  I have been on a journey that continued in trying to work out what that difference was.  I have been on a journey that has included the pain of hiding myself, of trying to pretend that I was something that I was not.  I have been on a journey that took me to a point where I finally realized that I could not continue as I had, that I had to take steps to present myself as the woman I am were I to survive at all.  I have been on a journey that has included lost love, that has included cold loneliness and crushing isolation.  I have been on a journey of fulfillment, of finding not only the intellectual understanding of who and what I am, but the emotional understanding, the understanding of the deepest self-perception, as well.  I have been on a journey which continues, which will continue until I have taken my last breath.

I wish to share the story of that journey with you.  I hope that you may find it somewhat interesting, perhaps even useful.  The story will surely unfold in a haphazard fashion; please bear with me.  The story will include not only the exciting details of my transsexuality, but will include, also, the mundanities of daily life.  After all, just as war is long periods of boredom interrupted by short bursts of terror, life is the mundane more than it is the exciting.

I welcome you to this path.  Please walk with me, and perhaps each of us can learn from the other.

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It's been quite a long time since I've last posted; I'm not sure why, perhaps I've been busy, perhaps I've been preoccupied, Perhaps I've just been lazy.  At any rate, a lot has happened over the last months.  Last winter was arguably the hardest I've ever suffered; now that it's over, I'm preparing for the winter to come.  Before the snows come again, I want a warm room in which to ride them out.  To this end, I've framed a wall to support the upstairs joists at their weak point, framed my bedroom, and am working on the walk-in closet.  When framing is done, I'll wire overhead light, power outlets, and baseboard heat.  Wiring done, I'll turn to hanging doors, insulating, then close the walls with gypsum board.  It is my fervent hope that nothing goes wrong budgetwise, and the money holds to see the job through.

I know that I am capable at all of the tasks before me, yet with each timber I cut and each nail I drive, I am plagued by a lingering doubt.  I have framed, I have wired, I have insulated, I have hung gypsum board, and much more, all to the good, but never before has my life literally depended upon the quality of my work.  I constantly reassure myself that I will do the best job that can be done, but I will not know this to be true or false until the next winter has passed, and I cannot spend another winter such as the last.  If any good has come of the Slimy Bastards not speaking to me for the last year and a half, it is that I do not hear their constant beratement which would have me frozen in doubt and terror.

I will sleep tonight.  In the morning, I will have my breakfast at the soup kitchen, then carry another pair of 2x4s up the hill to my home.  I will cut and fit them, and note another step done.  I will do this.  I will do this well.

http://dclarion.fnordnet.net/home/

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After leaving the crisis center, I have been in an Intensive Outpatient Program, which is basically a group therapy that meets three days per week.  Various methods of maintaining emotional stability are presented, and we, the students, work out ways to put them into practice in our own situations.  I will say outright that I have learned more in these past four weeks than I had in nearly 23 years in "the system".

It seems, then, that the time is coming that I will be "graduated" from the program and will return to the therapy whence I came, this time hopefully with a toolkit that will do me some good.  Yes, I'm a bit frightened.  The environment at the IOP is comfortable, the people there have IQs greater than their ages, they want to work on themselves, and the program is nothing like the adult day care centers I've dealt with in the past.  But it seems time to move on.

Now, it's up to me to keep my feet under myself.  Here goes.
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Things are not easy here in Castle Clarion; I never thought that they would be.  Sometimes, though, it feels like things will never improve.  I'm currently hunting down a part I believe I need for the plumbing works, and am running into one dead end after another.  I suppose that I just keep looking, but the longer it takes to find it, the more it feels like my current state will be permanent.

I can do this, I know I can.  Even in the face of all the negative commentary, I know that I can do this.  Sometimes, I just need a little help, is all.  As it is, I'm trying to focus on twenty-four hour periods, asking myself "What do I need to do today?", with the emphasis on "today".  I'll make it, I know I will.  I'll make it or die in the attempt.
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I installed the attic lighting yesterday.  This allows me to store things I'm not using at the moment, getting them out of the way of the work I have to do.  It's a great attic; now that I have made access easier, about the only complaint I have with it is that there isn't enough floor.  I'll take care of that as I work on the second floor, as I need to improve the insulation in the ceiling, anyway.

Having done something significant and permanent, I feel better about the rehab as a whole.  I'm still frightened out of my mind, please understand, but having turned some small part of the dreams and talk into reality, I can say "I did this, and I can do more."

I think that I'll do more now.
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Under normal circumstances, I've never been a small person.  At the age of 11, I weighed about 150 lbs.  I also sang baritone, but that's another story.  I broke 200 lbs. at the age of 19, and for the most part stayed between 190 and 220 lbs. thereafter.  Due to stress that surely became life-threatening, I dropped from about 195 lbs. in July to an adult low of 148 lbs. last week.

About an hour ago, I checked my weight, and was overjoyed to read 156 lbs.  I can but hope that this means that I have bottomed out and might be on the road to becoming myself again.
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I'm about as moved into Замок "Кларион" (Castle Clarion) as I can manage by myself.  I've brought as much of value as I could, but I'm still losing a lot.  I'll get by.  It's total chaos, as I had to bring things here and simply drop them to make the next load, so one of the first things I have to do is sort through everything, find and deploy what I need immediately, and stack the rest.  The other thing to do is start clearing rubble.  This will not be easy, as my feet are shot and I can barely walk to carry things away, but I'll manage, perhaps a load per day.

In some sorting I did over the past couple of days, I uncovered some curtain rods.  I want to put those up and hang my heaviest draperies from them; that might help conserve heat.  I'm using a kerosene heater, which is quite efficient and quite expensive; I'm being as stingy with the kerosene as I can manage.

Bathroom facilities are nil.  This is why I need to clear rubble, to be able to work on getting a functional bathroom.  I have the technology, I have the will, I have the time.

I will make it.  I will survive.
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To those who actually read my entries, I apologize for my long absence.  It's not been fun.  I am, however, trying to work myself out of the hole I've been in.

In big news, I'm rehabbing a house.  I want to be sleeping there by the end of the week, completely moved in by the end of the month.  The place is an absolute wreck, having been (officially) vacant for at least four years, but I have plans for it.  Give me five to seven years, and it will be fit to grace the cover of The Architectural Journal.  Interested parties may wish to view a photo journal of my progress.  Tune in to

http://dclarion.fnordnet.net/home/index.shtml

I will say that, as bad as things have been lately, I feel best when I'm working.  I suppose that I'll have to pull a Sarah Winchester.
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On the 14th, the owner helped close what animal entrances could be found, and boarded up the broken window at the rear of the house.  This made it possible for me to begin working in earnest.

On the 15th, I dropped sand in the area under the rear addition, to help in cleaning the feces on the floor.  Today, I took up my second stereo rig -- a cheap little thing -- and a box of tools.  Then I began tracing the electrical wiring, in the process discovering the first of many joys in store for me.  The wiring is a hopeless mess; I'm amazed that the house hadn't yet burned to the ground.  It looks like the electrical outlet behind the xmas tree in "A Christmas Story".  I disconnected everything but a single circuit that provides power to an outlet on the first floor.  I'll probably be sleeping among my tools on the first floor for a while, at least until I can get the first floor bathroom roughed in.  This way, I can have a working alarm clock.

I'm quite happy with the look of the basement, though.  There was a lot of gypsum board nailed to the first floor joists; I had feared that somebody was trying to hide something.  The joists of the first floor look quite good, however, considering their age (110 years).  Along the line, somebody had the presence of mind to paint them with grey porch paint; this was certainly not the man from whom I'm buying the house.  What is really nice is that the basement is DRY.  This is a very good thing.  One thing that frightens me a little is the terra incognita under the front porch; the owner screwed the access door shut.  I'll deal with it, as it will be necessary to rebuild the front porch, anyway.

The neighbors are another thing.  It's not that they're nasty, it's that they're Yinzers.  They're always trying to have extended conversations with me while I'm trying to work, complaining about my walking boxes of my possessions up in my little red wagon.  It's not that I don't like them, but I have a schedule to keep.  Believe it or not, I like walking up the hill, wagon in tow; it's contributed to my weighing as little as I did when I was 21.  And the kids.  For the love of St. Gulik, the kids.  I suppose that that was my own fault, for breaking into song while clearing the front yard of overgrowth; I still have a professional-quality singing voice, and can be clearly heard a quarter-mile away, without amplification.  Now, the kids are always begging me to sing.  Perhaps I should rig the front porch with stage lighting and put out a busking basket.

At any rate, here is where it starts.  When I finish, if I finish, is unknown, but the work is rewarding in itself.
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Yesterday, my landlord informed me that he had sold his interest in these buildings to his silent partner.  His partner was silent for a reason: He did not want to deal with the day-to-day maintenance of a pair of buildings that are falling apart.

I know that my days here are numbered, and that the number is not very large.  I have to take action if I am to remain indoors.

So, I begin.
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The evening previous, we had got together with old friends.  I had not seen these people since my thirtieth birthday party.  It was such a long time ago, nearly twenty-five years, but we were nthe same cadre we were in high school.  We remembered the old days, we remembered the one of our number who was with us only in memory.  It was good.

It turned out that it was karaoke night at that establishment, and I could not pass up a chance I thought I might never have again; I went to the DJ's table and left a request.  When my turn came, I introduced my performance with "This is for someone very, very special."  It was Neil Diamond's Play Me.  I sang to her.  I watched her look back at me.  At the refrain, our eyes met.  "You are the Sun, I am the Moon, you are the words, I am the tune, Play Me."

As I came down from my room this morning, she was on her couch, waking from sleep.  We watched a DVD.   I took her hand, I softly caressed her shoulder.  I told her that I love her.  In all of my life, that was the most intimate moment I have ever known.

Then, the dogs wanted to be let out.

dclarion: (Default)
The evening previous, we had got together with old friends.  I had not seen these people since my thirtieth birthday party.  It was such a long time ago, nearly twenty-five years, but we were nthe nsame cadre we were nin high school.  We remembered the old days, we remembered the one of our number who was with us only in memory.  It was good.

It turned out that it was karaoke night at that establishment, and I could not pass up a chance I thought I might never have again; I went to the DJ's table and left a request.  When my turn came, I introduced my performance with "This is for someone very, very special."  It was Neil Diamond's Play Me.  I sang to her.  I watched her look back at me.  At the refrain, our eyes met.  "You are bthe Sun, I am the Moon, you are the words, I am the tune, Play Me."

As I came down from my room this morning, she was on her couch, waking from sleep.  We watched a DVD.   I took her hand, I softly caressed her shoulder.  I told her that I love her.  In all of my life, that was the most intimate moment I have ever known.

Then, the dogs wanted to be let out.
 

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Of the journey from Pittsburgh to Lakewood, the most difficult part was the last few steps to the gold house on Elmwood Avenue. I had experienced anticipation and trepidation while packing the items I would need for the twelve days. I had paced the floor of the bus station in downtown Pittsburgh. I had shed tears in the seat of the coach, and described my excitement and terror to the fellow passengers who had noticed my crying. It was those last few feet, however, that I traversed with feet of lead.

 

It had been twenty-three years since I had seen the facade. It had been twenty-three years since last I had seen the person who lived there. It had been a very long twenty-three years. I remembered our meeting, in high school. I remembered the profundity of our falling in love. I remembered my stepping back when I knew that my parents would only hurt her terribly, when I knew that I could not subject her to that pain. I remembered our reunion, fifteen years later. I remembered our working together in her writers' workshop. I remembered our feelings for each other surfacing again. I remembered my stepping back, again, when I knew that I would only be a major complication in her life and that of her family.

 

I remembered my flight to Pittsburgh when my life in Cleveland came apart, and falling out of contact with her again. I had known that her health was not good, and I expected that she had died. I cherished her memory, recalling the good moments we had, and lamenting the errors of my past decisions. I loved her still, as I always had, as I always would.

 

Then came the contact request via Facebook. I was stunned; it took a full day for me to stop shaking. She was alive, returned from the grave. I considered it no coincidence that I had discovered her finding me on the day of the winter solstice, the event marking the return of light and the lengthening of days. We began lengthy correspondence, speaking of times past. She held a mirror to me, showing me what I had been, showing me how I had, for four decades, been in denial of my own motives in life. She initiated a torrent of tears that was to last three months, and which was the best thing anyone had ever done for me. She turned my life around; she even saved this life of mine.

 

Now I stood at the house on Elmwood Avenue. We had agreed that I should go to the side entrance, such that her Labs would not bolt through the open door. As the doorbell did not function, I took out my cell phone and entered her number. When she answered the call, I announced my arrival:

 

“Hon, check your side door.”

 

From the time of the embrace of our reunion to the time that I write these words, we have been engaged in long and intimate discussion. My life is changing yet again. She is helping me gather the pieces of my shattered existence and fit them into a whole, helping me build the basis of a life of which she is the cornerstone. She is my soul.

 

With all that I am, with all that, with your support and guidance, I may ever hope to become, I love you.

 

Thank you.

dclarion: (Default)
Why will those who are ostensibly so close to you not appreciate you?  Please explain this in terms that I can understand.  Why?
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My Dearest One,

I've not put it quite this way before, but there is something you have done for me that has value beyond measure.  Do you remember my telling you that I firmly believe that each of us is alive by virtue of the other?  There is a case of this fresh in my mind.

For three years, I was constantly close to death by my own hand.  I was out of options.  I remember sitting at my desk, crying "I want to run away, but there is nowhere to run."  I was still in denial, knowing what I was doing, knowing what I had been doing for four decades, but still not comprehending it.

Then, you came back into my life.  You held a mirror to me, showing me how I had traded away pieces of myself, one by one, even my very soul, in exchange for empty promises of companionship and security.  You showed me how I took my worth from others, just enough to keep me around for the next round of degradation.  You turned me into a lake of tears for three months, but it was the best thing anyone has ever done for me.  You showed me that the only place I was going to find worth was within myself.  As painful as it was, you started me on the path to healing.  You turned my life around.  Again.

You, my Dearest One, literally saved my life.  How could I ever show you my gratitude?
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You tell me that you do not want to fill me with false hope.  Let me tell you this:  I have made my decision.  I love you.  Whatever may happen, that will never change.  Always will I feel this love for you.  Should ever I have the privilege, I will proclaim it, for all the world to know.  There is no hope here, there is only fact.

Sunt tibi anima mea.
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Could somebody explain at me just what is happening here? It seems that I've got my vocal range back. All 2½ octaves of it.
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I want you to feel happy.  I want you to be respected.  I want you to feel the devotion of another.

I want, I want, I want.  This isn't about me, this is about you.  For the love of St. Gulik, what is it with all of this "I want"?
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"I've got so much on my plate that I don't know where to stick my fork."

-- In reference to my having many projects going at once
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If you're all warm and happy when the other person is around, you could be infatuated. You know that you're in love when you're shining like a lighthouse while alone at home, doing the dishes.
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Intense
Liberated
Overjoyed
Vital
Elated
Young
Outgoing
Unbounded
Dynamic
Ecstatic
Blessed

May 2013

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