A piece of my story

I’ve done some things I’m not proud of, that I can admit. I’m sure to some of you, at times, I just seem like a crazy person. Everyone has a story though. I happen to be one of those people who have lots of stories that provided lots of scars to this body and soul. This story of mine has been a lot of heart ache, stress, heartbreak, laughter and tears.

I’ve done many things to make my parents proud and I’ve done some things that make the more close minded parents of mine ashamed. I apologized to the man who raised me, whom I call dad, for making him ashamed of me. I apologized to his wife who had a part in my adolescent upbringing. I’ve apologized to countless women who claimed to love me, who I actually loved. The problem with all of these apologies is, I’m not apologizing for the right reasons. I’m apologizing for them, not for something I did wrong, for something that made them ashamed. I didn’t know they weren’t supportive of me until they were angry though. People have a funny way of being supportive until they want to hurt you because things aren’t going their way.

Then you have those people that you’ll never forget. People who empower and encourage and love you. People who give you new names and people you can call in the middle of the night when you just want to die. They are amazing people they are friends and family. Most importantly they are the family I choose.

The problem is, I spent so much time worrying about apologizing to the wrong people and I haven’t spent enough time thanking the people who do matter, the people who’ve got my back no matter what. The people who love me and the people who encourage and empower me to be who I am. To all of you, I’m sorry for spending so much time on the negative and not nearly enough time on the positive. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you. Thank you for telling me you’re with me and you’ve got my back and that you’re proud of me. You’ll never know how much that really means.

You see, I wanted to tell my story. The whole story, but it’s too long. So I’m going to do my best to make my point here shortly.

You see, I believe I’m a good man, a man who has integrity and compassion. A man worth being friends with. I’ve struggled with many things. Women, Ha! God knows I’ve had my fair share of failed relationships. Mental illness, God knows I’ve had one too many suicide attempts. Injuries, the loss of my babies, brain surgery, PTSD, sexual trauma, abandonment issues. There’ve been many many things I have survived. I guess that’s why am writing this.

You see, some idiot decided to go shoot some of my friends in Orlando the other day. People who were and are good people just out having a good time. People who just wanted to relax and have a few drinks and dance. They wanted to dance and they were killed and severely injured.
To all of you, I love you. I’m sorry this happened. It isn’t fair. To the families, I’m sorry, I will do my best to honor your sons and daughters in my daily life from now on by not living in fear.

You see, I’m a pretty lucky guy. I’ve got some family behind me who’ll always be there and who support me. To the ones who don’t, I hope you find The peace you’re looking for. And to my ex-girlfriends and one set of parents, you don’t have to try to put me down anymore or tell other people my personal business because that’s what I’m writing this for. I still wish you all peace though.

When I was eight years old I decided I wanted to join the army. I knew it would make my dad and the rest of my family proud. During my military service I encountered my fair share of stress. Short deployments, military police work, normal Uncle Sam bullshit. One of those things was extraordinarily stressful. Military sexual trauma. I was raped by another soldier. A Soldier who knew my situation. A Soldier who knew me. You know what caused more stress than being raped though? Not being able to be myself.

I moved across the country to live a “stealth” life where people didn’t know anything about me. I’ve been keeping a lot of things to myself out of fear. When I was in the army it was fear for dishonorable discharge. When I moved to Bible Belt Kansas it was fear for my life and my families life. But I will no longer live in fear. You see, when I was born in a hospital room to my mother, I was her beautiful little girl. She was really excited when they said “it’s a girl!” That was almost 29 years ago.
Growing up though, I was rough-and-tumble, stole my brother’s or neighbor’s clothes every chance I got, and did everything I could do to fit in with the boys. My mom knew I was different than other little girls though. And she let me be. Except for the time she paid me $20 to wear a plain white Easter dress to go see my Poppop. She was doing the best she knew how. “There was no such thing as transgender then.” It’s what she says. She didn’t know about counseling options and such. Anyway, I wanted to be the boy I was. Then I wanted to join Army.

When I was a teen I asked my mommom “What would you say if I said I wanted to be a boy?” She said “I would say to make sure it’s what you want to do, but if you do that you can’t join the army.”
I had to make a choice. Army, or being the man I knew I was, the man I so desperately needed to be for my sanity.

The Army won. I needed to serve my country. They wouldn’t let me be me. I had to hide. I was in the army for nine years. That’s a long time of hiding. Outside of the uniform I was living my day to day life as male. In uniform I couldn’t and I wanted to kill myself every day.

When I went home on leave we had a baby shower style party where everyone picked a name. That’s how I got my new name Kayden. My longest friend, Lexi, chose it and my mom picked Blake. Now here we are and here I am being who I am, living my life, enjoying my life because I can now. Just because I was born one way and had a different name all those years ago doesn’t mean I should live in fear.

So, there’s my story. I’m still just a normal dude who lives in a stupid HOA who gets mad when I don’t cut my grass enough, Who babysits and mentors neighborhood kids, who pays his bills, who goes fishing and camping and who is finally learning to laugh a lot and accept himself for the good man he is. Thank you for the support. You know who you are. I appreciate and love all of you and I hope those who aren’t supportive can find peace in their own lives.

Be you. You’ve only got this life.
Peace and love
-Kayden

(This was written June 15, 2016)

Your words hold weight

Your words hold weight.

Something so simple like “You don’t look good in hats, lets go!” or shaming someone for having to cancel plans, or when someone brings you flowers saying “Ugh, what are those?” “You’re just looking for attention.”

For people like me who seem to always remember the things that hurt, it can be severely damaging. Like, keeps me up at night, damaging. Looking at the ceiling last night during my sleep study all of these things were rushing through my head.

“Why did my wife respond that way when I bought her flowers for the first time? They were her favorite kind.” That’s why I was so nervous to bring my last girlfriend flowers on our first date. Fear of rejection and looking stupid.

“I feel really bad when I have to cancel things now, even if it’s for a good reason because I was shamed so badly for it, now I feel super guilty every single time and it gives me severe anxiety, pretty much to the point that even if I’m not well I show up.”

“My friends told me they really liked my golfing style hat when I was wearing sunglasses with it and my button up that matched. She’s never ever even seen me in a hat, maybe some ridiculous photo from when I was 17 trying to be ‘cool,’ but definitely not as an adult.” Now I am so afraid to even walk into a hat store and try on a hat at all.

“Is my depression real? Do I have PTSD? That time I tried to kill myself I wasn’t looking for attention, but maybe I was, maybe I didn’t want to die. A few days later I didn’t want to actively kill myself anymore, maybe I’m making all of this up in my head.”

Actually even writing this right now is giving me severe anxiety, so I’m going to need to take a break and revisit this one. I plan on discussing people talking behind your back and it getting back to you and solutions to these problems, but right now I can’t. I’ll be back,

Tiny

Realization

So, I’ve realized a lot of things over the last week while trying to heal from my break up.

One, I have amazing friends.

Two, I don’t have to take all of the blame.

Three, both of us are broken in our own ways.

Four, There will always be someone who understands.

Five, Hopefully we can be friends.

MY FRIENDS ARE FUCKING AMAZING

I really don’t know what I would do without my friends. They are so supportive and understand that I’m hurting, but they’re loyal. They say things like “I hate her…. until you tell us not to hate her anymore, then we’ll love her again.” While I know they are trying to be supportive I also know if she was around without me they would still be nice to her because they are really nice people, but them saying that helps. They take me out and let me vent and get it all out. They build me up and tell me their perspective from an outsider looking in. I never told them my troubles because I never wanted them to judge her. Which brings me to my next point…

I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE TO BLAME

I keep taking all the blame when I talk to our mutual friends and say “Ya, know good for her, she did what she needed to do and broke up with me because we had an unhealthy relationship.” But you know what? Some of that is complete bullshit. I try to take the high road and be the bad guy, but why? Is it all to “save face?” Is it because I don’t want her friends to see her as a bad person? Is it because I don’t want people to think I’m a bad person? Why? Why do I keep doing that? It’s not true. This wasn’t amicable. This was her decision because she chose to run away instead of having a discussion with me, and that’s probably because of the pattern of her past relationships, which I get, but that isn’t fair to me. I’m still left here with unanswered questions. I truly don’t know why she broke up with me other than I expressed my feelings and she didn’t want to deal with my feelings.

My last relationship, she told me “You’re too closed off. You never tell me anything. You never share your feelings.” So, this one, because I love her so much, I decided to talk about my feelings and say “I love you” often. That clearly backfired. I made it a point to say I was feeling hurt and neglected and I was broken up with and told I was being controlling. I wasn’t. I just wanted a heads up and some common courtesy, which looking back at it now, I never got.

That doesn’t mean I should be closed off again for my next partner. I’m trying to remember that, but I’m falling back into the same closed off pattern I was before I was with her.

I think I’m mostly mad because I opened up to her on a whole new level. I told her things about me nobody else knows. I opened up to her emotionally with all of my bullshit and sexually with all of the things I’ve always wanted to try. So, I think I created a best friend in her who now told me to never text her again because she can’t deal with the way I’m grieving the loss of our relationship. One day I want to be her friend and then when she doesn’t respond the way I want her to I get upset and ugly. I wouldn’t talk to me either, but still.

WE ARE BOTH BROKEN

She has her own shit, just like I have mine. She’s been dealing with some past controlling and abusive relationships which is why I’m sure she perceived some of the things I said to be controlling or unhealthy, when I really just wanted to be included. I get it though. Just like when I was thinking she was being nasty she probably wasn’t, but because of my past abusive relationships I never even brought it up because I was too scared to fight. I was always afraid to express my feelings and I’ve learned that’s not the way to go.

MY FRIENDS GET IT

My friends have helped me so much over the last week. I have one who went through a recent break up and a few who have been in a similar situation. They have given me incredible insight. They have brought to light so many things that will make me stop telling her friends that “She did what she needed to do.” No, the fact of the matter is she was just probably done and decided to run. She’s good at running, per her pattern. I still wish she would’ve stayed even though my friends are saying she wasn’t good for me anyway. They’re helping me see it wasn’t all my fault and I don’t need to take all of the blame, even though I do…. I’m good at that.

FRIENDS MAYBE

I’ve been trying to be her friend, but with my grief and being so up and down she can’t handle it. I really hope though, that one day she will be my friend, because I miss her every single FUCKING day. I want to tell her everything that is going on in my day to day life and I find myself not being able to text her because she pretty much forbid me from it and I’m trying to respect her wishes. It’s hard though because I really thought she was my best friend. I told her everything. She knows my stuff from my darkest shadows… And it makes me sad that it’s just so easy for her to walk away. And maybe I wasn’t a good boyfriend to her, but I am an amazing friend and I just miss her. Maybe one day I won’t have to.

Who knows.

Tiny

 

I Didn’t Even Know

She was always comforting me. I didn’t even know it because I had never had someone take care of me the way she did. Every time I was about to break down she saw it. She loved me through it. She patted my back and loved me and held me and said “It’s gonna be okay.”

She loved me enough for the both of us.

So, with talking with a friend today I realized all of this. I remembered a day where she finally actually opened up to me and I thought I was being attentive and listening, which I was, but I wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t paying attention to what she actually needed. She at the end of telling me something so personal, said “Can you just hug me right now?”

She shouldn’t have had to ask that. It’s not fair she had to ask that.

At least she knew what she needed because I didn’t. And I didn’t know what I needed either.

I hope that I find a part of her and her compassion and love in another partner eventually, when I’m ready to be with someone again. I just hope that I don’t treat the next one the way I treated her, without even knowing I was doing it.

To you, dear, I am sorry. I am proud of you though, for respecting yourself enough to leave an unhealthy relationship.

I thought I didn’t know the reasons she actually left me, and everyday I come to a new realization on my path to self improvement and healing that it wasn’t as trivial as I was making it out to be.

I’m not saying it was ALL my fault. It takes two to tango, but I am saying that for this one, I’ll take ninety six percent of the blame.

I’m sorry, but I’m working on me, so that’s something.

Do something to improve you today.

Until next time,

Tiny

Thank You For Your Service

So, I want to talk for a minute about when people say “Thank you for your service,” to me. It’s awkward. I appreciate it, but I never know what to say. “Thank you for your gratitude?” “Thank you for your support?” What do you say?

I am so thankful that I have so much support.

But I never know what to say back.

People at bars occasionally buy me drinks or pay for my meal, or whatever.

That is so nice.

Thank you.

Please continue doing that for other veterans.

Thing is though, I didn’t do my job to get recognition for it. Well. that’s kind of a lie. I wanted recognition from my command, but not civilians. I do appreciate the salutes and hand shakes from civilians though. I appreciate it, I just never know what to say.

So I mostly say, “I was just doing my job, sir/ma’am, somebody had to do it.”

What is the appropriate response?

With these people showing so much gratitude for you doing your job, how do you respond?

I’ve lost so many friends during battles.

I’ve lost so many friends to suicide.

I don’t deserve as much recognition as they do.

It makes me feel guilty.

Maybe that’s just something I need to work out in therapy, but thank you.

Thank you for appreciating veterans.

I dig it.

Sorry if I don’t respond appropriately.

Until next time.

-Tiny

What To Expect After Brain Surgery

IMG_7489So, you’re getting ready to have your brain cut open by some surgeon who went to a thousand years of schooling and they recommended it! Now what?

So, you’re probably going to wake up at 3am to get to the facility to prepare.

This of course, is after all of your pre surgery appointments to get your checklist completed.

Once you get there the surgeon or the surgeon assistant should come see you and mark one side of your head with their initials so they know which side to cut open, of course.

They’re going to make you wait for a long time!

You’ll put a cap on your head, which makes absolutely no sense because they’re cutting into your head…

They’re going to shave some part of your head. Embrace your new hair cut. It’ll grow back soon!

You’ll get some compression socks, they’ll take your blood pressure and check all of your vitals and place and IV.

Once I was in the back I was talking. I moved to the operating table and was having a very nice conversation with one of the nurses. Suddenly the anesthesiologist started pushing the syringe int o my IV to make me sleep. I was NOT happy and in the middle of me passing out I was saying “That’s rude, wait, I’m still….. ” I wanted to say “telling my story,” but I was knocked out.

During my time in the operating room the surgeon evidently wasn’t happy with the MRI that I had so, while “sleeping” they put me in another MRI. When I finally got to the operating room again, an hour and a half after that rude guy put me to sleep, I briefly woke up. They noticed and knocked me right back out. (I have a high tolerance.)

So, they cut my brain open.

Now it’s time to wake up.

Hey, it’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt really bad. Ask the nurse for some drugs.

You’re going to get through it, I promise.

I was crying so hard, which makes it hurt really much worse. She said “I can only give you percocet.” So in my mess of ugly blubbering crying, I said “But that’s what the dentist gives me for my tooth!” I heard some yelling by my nurse in the hallway.. “If you got your brain cut open would you only need percocet?!?!”

She came back with morphine and dilaudid.

That is a good nurse.

I cried. I cried a lot, mostly from anesthesia. I was crying for my Mommom (grandma.)

You might be confused and not know where you are.

There will be a catheter in your genitals.

You’ll have some funny socks on and they will be massing your legs so you don’t get a blood clot.

You’re going to be so sleepy. Just sleep! Don’t fight it.

You’re going to be fucking high as soon as they give you those meds. It’s okay just fucking embrace the high and relax. It’s better than the pain.

You are most likely going to have the most awful taste you’ve ever had in your mouth. It’s normal. It’s cerebral spinal fluid in your mouth and its disgusting. Eat the ice chips. It won’t help, but it’s important to stay hydrated. Also, it rinses that taste out of your mouth for about 18 seconds. If you drink water, even thought they told you not to, you’ll puke. Trust me, puking after they just cut your brain open is NO FUN.

Your sense of smell is gonna be so off. Eat anyway. Eat everything you can when you can, but it’s gonna be disgusting. Im just being real. Eat that shit anyway. You need it.

The next few months are going to FUCKING SUCK! Your nerves have been split open on your head! It sucks, but you’ll get through, don’t worry! Press your hand firmly on your head where it hurts and hold it there as long as you can stand it.

Focusing is going to be so hard. You can be in the middle of a conversation and forget what the fuck you’re talking about. Don’t worry. It happened to all of us. Ask the person you are talking to to remind you what you just lost mid sentence. Don’t be afraid to ask to remember. it’s helpful.

I was so angry and full of emotion when I was healing. So angry I was throwing things around…. I couldn’t regulate my emotions…You will eventually. Hopefully there is someone there who understands. I was laughing and crying and being angry for no reason. I had a girlfriend who was amazing and held my hand through it all. Just remember it’s tough for them too.

You’ll have an awesome scar to show off. Do not touch your staples or pick at your scab.

One of my staples got stuck in the sheet while I was sleeping and was bent. I removed it with a gerber tool and my surgeon wasn’t happy about it.

Take your poop medication. I didn’t poop for 6 days. Take the pills. If you’re not pooping tell your doctor!

Set alarms to take your pain meds. Even if you’re sleeping have an alarm or a person to wake you up to make sure you take the six to ten medications they send you home with ON TIME. Even if you aren’t in pain take it anyway. If you don’t its gonna suck later.

People are going to pity you. Tell them how you feel. Don’t worry about it. It’s just a thing people do.

You’re quite possibly going to hear dripping and swishing for a long time. Mine lasted for about 3 months. It’s annoying and the dripping sound will keep you up at night. Know though, it will eventually stop.

Eventually when you’re healed up for the most part the scar tissue sucks. It clicks and hurts. massage it. It will make funny noises, but eventually it will heal as much as it can.

Storms will suck always. You’ll know when its going to rain based on the pressure you feel in your head. Now you’re a meteorologist. Welcome to the club.

But guess what?! You fucking made it through because you’re reading this ridiculous blog. I really wanted to make a funny blog about my brain surgery experience, but I guess I’m just not funny today.

Make jokes with your nurses and try to just be grateful that you made it through. It’s going to be okay. You might have to do some physical and occupational therapy, like I did, but you’re going to be just fine. Put in the work! You’ll be back to a new “normal” in no time!

I’m glad you made it through, just take one emotion one step at a time and talk about it!

Good luck.

Everything is going to be okay. believe that.

So, I just took the first step to get a new psychiatrist and psychologist.

This is one of the scariest things.

I finally forced myself to do it.

I need help.

Hopefully we can go through the list of medications I’ve tried and find one that works.

I’m ready to get rid of this anxiety and stop self medicating with alcohol.

The lady on the phone was very nice and we even chatted briefly about basement stuff and refinishing them. She’s redoing hers too. It’s nice to know that at least the office staff is personable.

I’m anxious about it, but I know it’s a step in the right direction.

The VA has been no help so I had to outsource.

I’m ready to be healthy.

Or at least be without impending doom and static in my chest.

It’s time.

And I’m actually proud of myself for finally making the call that I’ve been saying I’m going to make for months.

June 7th is as soon as I can get in, but at least it gives me something to look forward to to get better.

Peace and love.