Birthdays, Anniversaries, and TDOR

I love birthdays, especially mine. Not because of doing anything special for them, although that's nice, but because it means I survived another year, which is a big deal to me as someone who has been suicidal. It's also a personal New Year's, a time for me to take stock. And in the same week, we have the anniversary of our domestic partnership. So that's cool, too. It's been a busy year. Just before my birthday last year, I got on Abilify, which has been a miracle for me. It's just massively changed my life. This summer, I went back to school, planning on a certificate in Database Administration and Design. I'm debating whether I want to be a database admin or a backend dev with a focus on database-driven projects. We'll see. I'm getting straight A's in my classes, with the help of Adderall, and I'm enjoying them as well. I got a job tutoring. Before I started school, I spent time studying both SQL and Ruby. I started writing the Book of the Downward Labyrinth, my tradition's Book of the Dead, with instructions both for the living and the Dead. I started Rewriting Death, where I blog about the process of writing that book. I've continued to write the Litany. I started the Polytheist Death Guild, and began attending a Death Cafe. I made some awesome dolls. I went to my first professional conference for tech, SeaGL, and had an interesting and pleasant time. Despite all the shittiness of 2016, it's been the best year I've had since the restaurant closed. It's the year I started to take back my life. And I feel good about that. But casting a bit of a shadow over both birthday (19th) and anniversary (14th) is the 20th, which is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. A day set aside every year to remember all the trans people who have been murdered in the previous 365 days. This year the total was 259. That we know of. Every year, the list gets longer. Some of that is that we hear about more of them, but some does genuinely seem to be that the numbers are getting higher. I've seen it said that murder is the #1 top cause of death of trans women, although I haven't been able to find a source for that, and am suspicious of it. Suicide is also a contender, especially for trans people who can't get access to transition treatments. Last year, I wrote some verses of the Litany for TDOR and the Trans Rite of Ancestor Elevation. Here they are again: I pray to the Murdered Trans Women 
Slaughtered for their status Who go without justice or vengeance 
May you be uplifted I pray to the Murdered Trans Women I pray to the Murdered Trans Men Slain for your difference 
Who go without vengeance or justice 
May you be uplifted I pray to the Murdered Trans Men I pray to the Murdered Genderqueer Folk And, or, neither Killed still for difference May you be uplifted I pray to the Murdered Genderqueer Folk I pray to the Trans Suicides 
You who died in despair Of a world that hated you 
May you be uplifted I pray to the Trans Suicides I pray to the Trans Activist Dead You who stood up and said No! 
You who insisted that you, too, are human 
May you be uplifted 
I pray to the Trans Activist Dead I pray to the Trans Elders 
You who held on in times before And lived long enough to pass on wisdom 
May you be uplifted 
I pray to the Trans Elders I pray to the Trans Youth So young to face the hatred in this world 
But so strong to live as long as you did 
May you be uplifted 
I pray to the Trans Youth I pray to the Trans People of Color Doubly oppressed and doubly hated 
Shining and beautiful and wonderful 
May you be uplifted I pray to the Trans People of Color I pray to the Trans Dead 
Whether you were warriors Or only wanted to live your lives 
May you be uplifted I pray to the Trans Dead...

36

It's my birthday. I'm 36 today. It has, in many ways, been an extremely rough year. Both of us have been out of work for all of it, and indeed I've been out of work for much longer. Money's pretty desperate. But we got married this year, and that's been so incredible that I can't help but count it a good year anyway. My wife makes me so happy. I have, in general, found my thirties to be a much more enjoyable decade than my twenties. I spent a lot of time suffering from and learning to deal with my mental illness in my twenties. I dropped out of college three times. I did manage to move across the country and to start culinary school (although I graduated after turning 30), but the bulk of the decade was pretty miserable for me. So I'm never sad to be a year older. As hard as things were after the restaurant closed, it did not match the utter despair of my early twenties. I drew a letter for the upcoming year during morning ritual. Pi. "Completing many contests, you will seize the crown." I have a lot of hope for this year....