Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Pathway to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions

There are rare days when life bears the truth that the pathway to hell is indeed paved with good intentions. There are other days when it feels like it's a freeway and I'm a driver without a steering wheel, whereas sometimes I'm the passenger on the interstate to hell and have no seat belt. All in all, I'm along for the ride simply 'cause I've got a ticket. 

In this lovely photo, the next street sign meets another street sign at an intersection. They should read Pathway to Hell Avenue/Good Intentions Boulevard. No kidding. When I see the two I know I'll be home directly. I won't want to get out of the truck, JC will turn off the a/c to force me out, I'll whine, gather my Klean Kanteen, my bag and anything new I've picked up during our outing, and slide down off the cold leather seats, hit the driveway concrete, sigh, pull down the hem of my top, pull up my pants, shut the truck door, turn and head indoors. 

I haven't done any of that since the day I took this photo. It's simply too hot to be messing around in all the concrete, MacAdam, waves of heat and exhaust fumes and my own . . . I tend to run hot. JC can accidentally touch my hand and declare "You're so hot!" I know I was a babe in my day but to have him still see me that way . . . He always ruins it when he reaches up to check my forehead temp, see the look on my face, and reassure me that, no, he didn't mean that kind of hot. *sigh* 

I'd never make it in Africa. Knowing it is one of the best reasons you never hear me whining about visiting the Motherland. Another is due to the fact that my foster Motherland is pretty much all I know this time around, hence this major disconnect. Once the umbilical cord is severed there's no reconnecting. Most of all, I have no desire to seek out my true tribe; that's why I have one of my own making. 

O-Bird is in Africa, what she calls her continent, and it pissed me off royally when she claimed it as such seeing as how it's really and truly not. That's like being adopted into a family whose country is not your own or calling yourself white just because you've been adopted by an Anglo family when you come from the Congo. People need to stop messing with other people's minds and DNA.  

See? I told you this pathway leads to a hellish end . . . A cul-de-sac? I'll try to explain. I'm reading two books that suck me in so deeply I cannot deny their pull. When that happens, the words I read affect me. It's like watching a movie that's so good you forget self and punch the air, scream when the hand reaches out of the dark, or you cry 'cause you think Will Smith's character just died, and it really feels real enough to make you cry. A good book makes a fool out of me.

This book hurts my heart. I remember the first transexual I met. It was after I'd read Christine Jorgensen's story and was so caught up in the very idea that for days it was all I could think of. Fast forward two years into the future and I met the parents of a hermaphrodite in the waiting room of Texas Children's Hospital. Those parents needed to share their child's story with someone--with anyone--so they told it to strangers. These years later I understand how it can be easier to share such uncertainty with people you're never likely to see again, or with someone who cannot judge you to your face . . . But I still wonder about the child whose parents chose a girl over a boy or even an intersected child. Couldn't they have waited until she could choose for herself?

The first adult transexual to be "liberated" at the Texas Medical Center just happened to move into an apartment below ours. She tried to be friends by doting on Erin when she saw us at the pool. I was too introverted to respond in a warm or welcoming way. I watched her settling into her new body and teeny-tiny string bikinis that were at odds with her too-large-to-be-a-woman's mannish hands and hip bones. I felt sad for her. 

One day I heard a nurse tell the story of her reassignment to Tommy, the clerk and part owner of the convenience store across the street from the apartment complex. I felt betrayed for "her." She and her husband moved away soon after. A year later I was an employee at the hospital where she'd been reassigned. Dr. G performed her surgery. I used to watch him and wonder. Why did he choose to liberate . . . What made him decide . . . Were that many mis-gendered souls crying for freedom?

It was the same hospital where the good and talented other Dr. G (Surnames spelled slightly different.) invented the first penile implant. Methodist Hospital was the cutting edge hospital back in the day. The answer to why I chose Methodist over Hermann was all about the laying of stones in my pathway. 

Fast forward a handful of years as you find me in the same medical center when HIV presented itself among Houston's population, but hadn't yet been identified. I worked on the leukemia pod at MD Anderson by then and was struck by the sudden influx of adult males on our unit. I remember the night I saw the first lesions on a patient's back and wondered why patients with skin cancer were on our unit. It was in that hospital that the first warnings were whispered into my ear . . . "Abstinence makes the heart live longer." And just like the man said, I replied, "You don't have to tell me twice." 

Everything happens for a reason. Experiences are paving stones. Sex reassignment surgery. That's what it was called back then. Someone is assigned a new sex. One definition of "assignment" means to make over. I cannot imagine how it might feel to be locked inside a body that identifies as a whole other self. I cannot imagine loving someone of the same gender and being denied . . . 

I finally watched "Moonlight" recently, and I cried. I finally got it. I got it where it counts. I got it as hard as I got "Loving" the first time I read their story. It's like the wise man once said, 

Birthing is hard, 
and living is mean
so get yourself 
a little loving 
in between.” 

I must disagree with Langston. We need a whole lot of loving--a continuous stream of loving--in between all the hell and good intentions.

“I stay cool, and dig all jive,
That's the way I stay alive.
My motto, 
as I live and learn, 
Dig and be dug
In return.” 

“Oh, God of Dust and Rainbows,
Help us to see
That without the dust 
the rainbow
Would not be.” 

I wish you just enough dust to make a hell of a lot of rainbows. And that's what mail is. Sometimes. 

Can you tell by this how my hand has gotten better? It has, so I wrote a little letter.

Did I ever tell you how I wanted to be an occupational therapist once upon a time? I figured my mama might see art as a legitimate career if it could help people. It didn't happen. I didn't sell out, but here's proof that doodling sure strengthens your drawing muscles. *grin* 

One sardine in a can beats Prince Albert in one hands down. Wait. There's more! Aw, go on, I'll smell you later. 

Did you know Lincoln was an extrovert???

I gotta tell you! GoT had me on the edge of my chair this weekend! Some of the best characters were killed off but I had no time to grieve because . . . Oooh! Because there were so many surprises and plots to try to figure out! That George R. R. Martin had my underskirts all twisted in knots, and the show's creators yanked them up hard enough to give me waistband burn. Dany worked everyone's last nerve, the little heifer, but Ser Jorah will save her bacon, and my favorite old woman drank the poison. I'd have told Jamie to go kiss his sister, but Old Woman got the last word. *hard grin* And that Cersei Lannister got no compassion from me. You can't pretty up or feel sorry for ugly, mean and nasty . . . Not when it's in one bag of skin and bones and with venom for blood. Why have writers created women who fight and murder and plot and . . . I know, I know. They pave pathways to hell with deliberation.

No way could I have written all this in a single letter, just as there's no way the story of "The Dark Tower" can be told . . . Dang it! Just when I'd sworn off believing any Stephen King story can be told on a screen. That's a little hell in itself, yes?

Write on and on and on . . . I forgot to mail last night's letters today. 


  1. The initial feedback on The Dark Tower movie isn't good, but I think I may still need to go for Idris Elba.

    1. Thanks. I'm not surprised. Dolores Claiborne is the only decent King movie IMHO. His books don't do well on the big screen or television, except for the first half of the first "Carrie." Salem's Lot kept me up nights; the movie made me laugh so hard I forgot to be frightened.

      I'm done with Idris so you're welcome to him. I don't like to share. LOL. I crushed on him before he made it big. He's on the cover of Essence. Have you seen it? He has teen daughters! And a young son. He's aging well though and still has some yum in him. :)

      Let me know how you like the movie. And Idris too, with your bad self! LOL.

  2. You, like me have a lot of thoughts. Oh the lessons learned as we journey through life sometimes standing, sometimes stumbling, sometimes crawling, scraping our knees reaching for what we want but cannot have. It is in the living that we find pathways. They need not always be hellish, but sometimes we want to walk over the coal to burn our soles and singe the skin we're in. We think it makes us feel our aliveness...and maybe it does. At least the ritual of it makes us think it does. Maybe we just want to walk across flames licking our heels just to prove we can endure life unscathed. But even these deliberate acts at some point must be deliberated. For what would be the point if we had no lesson to lead us to the unobservable profound universe within?

  3. You're a deeper thinker. I believe we seek the gold tried in the fire, repeat lessons until we learn, and we learn by paying attention, listening and living. Life is a cosmic school for man.

    I especially like your last sentence. As above so below, yes?

    Thank you. I hope I'll hear from you again someday. :)

    Be well.