A Possible Respite

I’ve never really had time to think about where I’m going. To take the time to pack my things slowly, clean, and figure out my next move. The last time I transitioned to a new place and a new life, I was homeless and looking at sleeping under a bridge or couch surfing. I had to take the first opportunity that came my way, and I took what I had with me, which was very little. Sloppily thrown into bags and old boxes. I got a grant to get some furniture from a local Goodwill, and that moved into my new place with me. I slowly replaced things from there.

I’m moving on again, but this time, I can pace myself. I have a lot more than what I arrived to this tiny apartment with and I’ve started on my dream of being a published author. I’ve built up from nothing. I feel stable financially, for the time being, where I had nothing to my name before. I got top surgery, have been on testosterone for two years, and have managed to survive this pandemic so far. Fingers crossed.

This new house promises a lot of things. Mostly because my whimsical and spiritual self likes to think the timing was a sign. I was ready to give up on everything because my life had gotten so bad here. I am surrounded by alcoholics, parties on an almost daily basis, and live next to an abuser as a reminder of my own past. And, ironically, he reminds me exactly of my abuser. My mental health got so bad I had a relapse with PTSD, and this time around, it was a monster. I can’t even begin to describe the nightmare I was living in. It was reminiscent of the time I lived back at home on my family’s hobby farm, locked away in my bedroom in fear of who I lived with. I’d nearly lost my life to my own hand three times.

So it came to my surprise that my wishes were finally answered. I’d done the rituals. Put good energy into the ether. Asked for help from my chosen pantheon. I retained resilience through hellish months when I just wanted to die. The other day when my case manager delivered my medication, I finally got a break in the madness. A house had opened up and because I’d had such problems here and requested to move, they’d put it aside for me to look at.

I don’t know when I’ll be moving within the next week — if possible — but I’ve started packing. There’s a lot I don’t know and I know I’m rushing into things because I’m so desperate for a new life. I won’t even have help other than transportation, so I’ll have to figure out how to move all of this myself. I don’t even know if there’s going to be a deposit I can afford, and I know nothing about the program I’ll be on to help with the electric bill. I may be broke as hell for a long time.

But if I’ve learned anything in my 32 years, it’s that when a new door opens, don’t question it. Take it. Because every time I’ve been brave and just took the plunge, something good has happened. And if my tarot cards and oracle cards have told me anything, it’s that to experience change and get a better life, you have to dive in head first. Things will work out somehow.

The house is two floors broken into two apartments. I get the bottom floor while my neighbor is above me, but it’s nestled in a quiet town on a back road away from everything. Downtown is just a block away and on a bus line, and there is a beautiful library I loved as a child, pizza shops, my favorite antique store I could practically live in, and a comic book store. It’s an old town and hasn’t changed since it was built, which is exactly what I love. I love the historical, timeless feeling of it, and it’s familiar. It feels safe.

My new home will be much larger than any I’ve lived in. The wooden floors have just been redone and while the fireplace isn’t operable, it’s a nice decoration and the mantle is a good place for my altar. In the bedroom, the walk-in closet is big enough to be an office. And my cats will have so much room to run and just be cats.

A part of me feels this is too good to be true. I’m used to something bad always happening, and my health has always taken a turn for the worse any time I move. This time, however, feels different. I know more now than I did before, and I’m further along in my recovery. I haven’t learned how to allow myself to be happy or excited without fear, but I’m going to try. In the end, if something bad is going to happen, it’s going to happen rather I let myself be happy or not, so being happy right now is my lifeline.

Maybe this will lead to bigger and better things.

©2020 Shane Blackheart

Book Review: My Lord

My LordMy Lord by L.B. Shimaira
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I want to start by saying I’ve spoken with L.B. Shimaira, and she’s one of the sweetest, most supportive people in the writing community. I wanted to support her because I love darker books, and I’m really glad I did.

‘My Lord’ begins with Meya, a woman who had lost pretty much everything to war. She’s captured and abused by slavers, and after getting sexually assaulted — which Shimaira does not describe but fades to black — Meya realizes her fate is inevitable. She is sold to Lord Deminas, who is a sadistic and inhuman ruler. Yet, he treats her differently from the other servants, and he seems to enjoy teasing her more than entertaining the idea of actually harming her. And he drinks blood…

At first, I suspected this might be a vampire story due to the blood-drinking. It’s definitely something much more than that, although it’s never truly clarified other than stating that Deminas is an immortal. I like that, though. It adds to the air of mystery around the sadistic Lord, and it made him that much more enticing to read. And he truly was a character that made me squirm a bit in all the good ways.

I couldn’t put this book down. Granted, I may be biased because this is exactly the kind of plot I crave in darker fiction, but this is genuinely a gripping book. Meya seems to be in danger quite a bit, and although we know the Lord likes her more than the others, we aren’t quite sure that he isn’t above harming her. This is what had me turning pages most of all. Shimaira leads you into a false sense of security repeatedly, and it truly makes you feel what Meya is most likely feeling.

One of my favorite aspects of the book is the strange wholesomeness I didn’t expect. Yes, there’s sadism, BDSM, cruelty, death, blood-drinking, and other things I won’t mention to not spoil it, but the companionship Meya finds in Nina, another servant, is so refreshing. And just when you think there might be a love triangle, there isn’t really. That was also refreshing. I rarely, actually never, see polyamory in the books I read. I loved it!

Consent was also a point that was repeatedly enforced, even by Deminas, and that was amazing. I truly didn’t think a book like this could be written with wholesome and ethical themes, but I stood corrected. It was such a wonderful mix of wholesome and darkness.

Overall, I have no nit-picks about this book like I normally do. I got a good sense of the characters, who they were, where they came from, and I fell in love with them. The ending was so fulfilling and felt complete even though it mentioned it was to be continued, and I will definitely await the next book if there is one.

Shimaira is an amazing writer. ‘My Lord’ is full of dark and wonderful surprises that feel like little rewards after enduring the pain with Meya. I truly did appreciate, and I applaud, Shimaira for including a note at the end of the book explaining things. She states specifically what Deminas did wasn’t a realistic way of helping a victim of sexual assault, and she also details safe BDSM practices and, also, what not to do. That was a very caring touch to show that Shimaira truly cares about her readers. I don’t see that. Ever.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys deliciously dark naughtiness, but not in the traditional erotic sense. There is an amazing story to be told alongside the erotic themes that fall just in the right places, and they aren’t too heavy until the very end. And the last erotic scene we get is something else. I’ll leave it at that. I look forward to reading more from Shimaira.

View all my reviews

Transgender Lives Matter

Biden can mention us, but the news will still leave us out.

I’m afraid nothing is going to change for transgender people. As great as having a Biden and Harris victory is, and as happy as I am for change, I feel like trans people are still going to be left in the dust.

It’s very telling that so few backed us when Rowling, a rich, cisgender, straight, white woman, started a debate about our identities, and the news treated it like celebrity drama for a few days rather than a vital civil rights issue. And many still consider transphobia acceptable because it’s too much effort to challenge someone they look up to. If this was racism, society would have a different tune. And I see so few sticking up for us when we need it. We get a statement.

That’s it. People give statements of support, but they don’t actually advocate for us. I genuinely want this to change, but I don’t have much hope.

We don’t have a big movement like everyone else does. We don’t have a lot of support or financial backing, and we don’t get coverage or outrage for transphobia. So few, if any, will protest for us and make it a nationwide issue. Celebrities and big YouTubers don’t organize charity drives for trans organizations.

I see other minority and oppressed groups with so much support. What about us? We’ve had our lives, healthcare, and basic rights threatened. Transgender people have been murdered at an exponentially frightening number just for existing, enjoying life, or trying to work. The news won’t talk about that. The news won’t say our names, or even the word transgender.

I’d like to ask why. Why isn’t transphobia as abhorrent as racism? Why isn’t it as horrible as homophobia? Why is it not as deplorable as sexism? Why is it something to be debated or excused simply because no one wants to make the effort to call it out? Do we mean nothing in America? Are we not included in the American dream that hasn’t existed for a while now?

This is not to belittle or take attention away from other important civil rights movements. Black Lives Matter. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, women, and disabled people need to be heard. But so do we. If America can focus on all that at once, why are transgender people dismissed as unimportant or too much work?

Stop the excuses. If you have any excuses to make, you’re part of the problem. If you condemn racism, sexism, ableism, and homophobia, you can condemn transphobia.

We are dying. We are accepting the bare minimum. We are losing our jobs, homes, and rights. We cry and cheer for joy simply because a president elect said the word transgender.

America can do better than this. We’ll remember who supported us and who debated our existence. We’ll remember that while not many fought for us, we fought for them, and we’re exhausted.

©2020 Shane Blackheart