Don't need to read any references for this to know that in my life it's all about death and change. Death and change, death and change. Feel sick of it. The last few weeks have just been tense. Not only have I been on two training courses (room attendant and 1st aid) but the suicide of an online friend and the collapse of a real life friend, have impacted on me.
To be fair, I didn't know that online friend that well, just met them a few times within the virtual world of Second Life. But that wasn't the point. That which we had in common - both being trans - is. It made me think about a lot of things. My reaction to this was not good and I got "triggered" by some comments in an in-world chat room and panicked. Something odd happened. Someone I didn't seem to know, but knew me, confronted me about my reaction.
It felt like a "kick in the pants" from the Goddess. But since then I've only been in Second Life for very brief periods, and seldom as that avatar. And I think perhaps that one reason for this was that the nature of play within a virtual reality world had changed. The big appeal of such a thing (at least for me) was "play without risk" but it's clear now that such is an illusion.
There's always risk in such things - it's just now obvious what that is. In this case, it's investing (or over committing) emotionally in an an online involvement and then having that "investment" disappear from under myself. OK, in general I'm controlling an "avatar" that interacts with with other "avatars", but there's a real person behind each avatar. And the death, by suicide or other means, was a real death in real life.
It brought to the surface just how hard sometimes that it can be to be transgendered, and the way in which the everyday grind can and everyday difficulties can bring one down. I resolved the issues around that, and you can read the six page comic I did to explore these at http://lauraseabrook.comicgenesis.com/d/2
My real life friend, who is also trans, has MS and has been housebound for some years is another matter. Her collapse signalled the death of her independence which she cherished and attempted to maintain as long as possible. For the last three years, I've seen her health decline at a steady rate. Last year I looked after her cat and dog while she was in hospital with pneumonia, and when she came out the cat (Ebony) stayed. This time around I have her dog Bobby here - probably for good.
Two days ago - Sahmain in the Southern Hemisphere - I was with her at her flat and watched while she desperately tried to transfer from her wheelchair to her sofa. She couldn't do it, and that simple failure meant that practically, she was unable to look after her self, or her dog. And that means going to a nursing home, winding up the flat and placing Bobby somewhere (mostly likely here).
It was the most dispiriting thing to see my friend just give up. I couldn't fix things, couldn't save her from this. Yesterday I "ran away" from home for a bit, going down to Sydney for some time out. I needed it. I saw two counsellors in two days (the first was directly after being with my friend) because I needed to talk things through. And it seemed that I was meant to see the second counsellor - their booked appointment had cancelled just before I showed up.
The question that both raised in me was "Why bother? Why go on?" And the thing is that I don't exactly have an answer.
We all decay, we all die. But the manner in which we do is different for each one of us. I couldn't help my online friend after the event. I couldn't help my real life friend to transfer, and couldn't be what she hoped for (a 24 hour live-in carer). But at least with my real life friend there is hope. I can still be there for her to talk to and help in other ways, and maybe nursing home life won't be such a living death as she fears.
Picked up a book of the sayings of the Buddha today and randomly selected a page. It said:
Through perseverance, vigilance
self-restraint, a wise person creates a
safe harbour for herself that no
storm can overwhelm.
So I need to find that calm in me, because without I'll never help others find the calm in themselves. I can at least make the effort, but I also have to be practical and know my limits. I need to know when to say 'yes', and when to say 'no'. And I think I really should be serious about my masters project, get my application in and start producing my graphic novels about what gender transition means, and about biographical episodes from my life.
Because maybe together I stand a chance of finding answers, or at least beginning to search to look for some.