When I started my transition I also started my recovery at the same time.  I had been out there 11 years, not caring about anything or anyone including myself. I have a few years that I can’t account for. It all started in New York, My mom died not 5 feet from where I saw my dad die years earlier. I went numb and stayed that way, it was just too much for me to handle. I had went numb when my dad died of prostate cancer. I was the only one there, he died with his eyes open and he had brown eyes. I could have swore I watched the the brown run out of his eyes, leaving them blue. I stood there and wondered if he always had blue eyes, but he didnt.I was amazed at how fast he got cold when I closed his eyes. They were hard to close, It wasnt easy like in movies. The numb I felt was far worse now, I was beginning to believe that everything and everyone in my life was being taken in the worse ways possible. I had no one to turn to that I could talk to.

 I had five years of clean time in Narcotics Anonymous back then, I was a N/A guru, I sponsered people, I started and chaired two meetings, but I just didnt care. I didnt worry about my meds for my bipolar disorder, I trashed them and went right to self medicating. I went right back to where I was before I stopped and worse in no time. I was supposed to stay in N.Y. and move in with my older brother but he ripped me off. He was the last person I had. My divorce had been finalized a few months earlier and I lost my kids. I had won 50% custody of them but I let my ex move to another state and she didnt register with the courts in her new state. There was nothing I could do. I had also just lost Joanne, I met her after my ex moved out and we fell in love. I had a year with her and she died of Hep-C. 

I felt that everything in my life was being taken away and I didn’t know why. What had I done? Why was everyone and everything being taken like this? There was nothing left, I truly felt like an orphan. I served no purpose in life anymore, at least I had a dream.

I left everything I owned in New York and got on my motorcycle and headed for the west coast. It was a life long dream to ride cross country and live like a wanderer. I grew up on motorcycles. I almost always owned one, even when I was married. I was living out my dream for two years but it was getting in the way of finding the real me. It wasn’t until later in my first evaluation for HRT that I found out I was overcompensating, like many MTF transgender women. The real me wanted out, but I kept pushing it down. I didn’t understand yet.

 In about 2 years I wound up homeless, just before I did I was a badass biker, in the daytime. At night I was dressing and cruising the red light district, I knew it would cause me big problems if I got found out. I didnt realize it at the time but I was going into the biggest manic episode of my life. I wanted to get away from everything so I decided to leave it all behind and ride to Las Vegas. I didnt know it got cold in Las Vegas, it’s in the desert, and I froze my ass off. I stayed one night and left without even visiting the strip. By this time I was in full blown mania. On the way back I got a flat outside of Bakersfield. I hid the bike and wound up tripping around the desert for three days. I wound up walking from where my bike was to a gas station and back twice. The first can of fix a flat that I got was bad, and I had to do the walk over the next day for another can. I don’t think I slept the whole time. I decided to go to Reno and I burned an exhaust valve on the way there. I had to put the bike in storage and wound up losing it a few years later. 

After a few days in Reno things got out of hand. I got tresspassed from the casino’s for getting into fights with security. I was getting too manic and I was getting scared about what I might do. I was on the top floor of the Silver Legacy, where they have that weird machine going 24 hours a day. I tried to throw a security person over the railing, thank God I didnt make it. I went to N.I.M.H., the Nevada Institute of Mental Health in Sparks. They admitted me and  transferred me to a hospital back in Reno. I wasn’t there long. I got kicked out of the hospital because another patient and I got caught trying to have sex. I tried getting myself committed back in the hospital, but no matter what I said they wouldnt let me back in. They pissed me off so I left and came back to the lobby and dumped a bottle of Dalmane sleeping pills in my mouth and washed it down with a soda, I threw the empty bottle at the receptionist and walked out and stood on the front lawn. I started thinking no one was coming.

Two cop cars, a fire truck, and an ambulance showed up. They got me in a gurney and gave me charcoal to drink. As they were putting me in the ambulance I asked one of the paramedics, what now? They told me since I was overdosing on benzodiazapines I was going to stop breathing and they could’nt do anything. They said all they could do was help me breath. I took it to mean that I was going to die, and I was okay with that. I wasnt really planning on dying, I just did it to get back in the hospital. Before I blacked out I remember feeling very peaceful and thinking, oh well. I was happy.

I woke up restrained to a gurney with leather straps. My throat hurt a little. They might have pumped my stomach, I dont know. My backpack was on top of me, so I opened it and took out my knife and cut the restraints off. I stuffed them down a heating vent. I walked to the elevator and went downstairs and found a smoking area. So I lit up. As I was standing there smoking, the thought of what I had just went through didnt cross my mind, I didnt care, I just wanted a cigarette. I was on my second smoke when two big security guards showed up and stood on both sides of me. They said I needed to go back upstairs. I took a few more hits and we went back upstairs. They brought me back to where I woke up and broke out of the restraints. Some nurse starts yelling at me asking where the restraints are, and telling me Im going to be held liable for them. I told her, Who the fuck you yelling at cunt, do I look like one of your little bitch friends?

She started screaming, thats it, your getting a shot, Im not putting up with this. I tried to run and she screamed grab him, and they did. They got me on the gurney and they were holding me down, she tried to inject me in the shoulder but as soon as I felt the prick of the needle I twisted violently and the needle broke off in my arm. She bitched while she removed the needle and got another shot. The second time she tried to inject me in the buttcheek and I twisted again, the needle didnt break this time it just bent making it no good. She got me the third time and I went out.

I woke up and I was wearing this ugly orange jumpsuit and I felt like shit. The doctor who had originally admitted me was there. I wasn’t in the psych hospital in Reno, I was in NIMH in Sparks, because attempted suicides dont go to Reno, they come here, he told me. I was pissed. I had started out here. He told me to take a shower and get dressed, I was leaving. He had me sign myself in so I could be released.( in Nevada, you cant be released unless you sign yourself in, its weird).  They kicked me back out on the streets.

I called the hospital in Reno the next day and they said my friend was released. It was good news because I knew where she was from, Portola, Ca. I already knew from being out in the desert outside of Bakersfield that its legal to walk on a highway if there are no side roads. So I started walking to Portola on Highway 395 and no one bothered me. I started early and walked and tried to hitch a ride but no one would stop. I walked until it got dark and I just kept going. I was in the middle of nowhere and I didnt know how far I had to go. It’s a 50 mile trip and I didnt know how far I had walked, I had’nt seen a sign in miles.

As I walked in the dark I remember asking God to send me a ride, anybody, except a cop, I was afraid a cop would hassle me for being on the highway. I was paranoid about it, I tried to not think about it but it crossed my mind constantly.  I didnt see any more cars until a Highway Patrol stopped and asked me what I was doing. I told him about my friend and some Reverand she talked about who was building a church, and I was going there to help build the church. He heard about the church and He gave me a ride into Portola, thank God. He works in mysterious ways and I never noticed. I got a room and the next morning I went looking for this church. I couldnt find it. I wound up calling up this priest or whatever he was and we talked and he told me my friend was married and how dare I even ask about her and a few other snotty remarks. I hung up on him and decided to burn his church down. Being as manic as I was it seemed like a good idea at the moment, and I didnt have anything else to do.

 I wound up walking up and down the highways looking for this church. Night time came and it was freezing, the ground was covered with snow and I froze. Finally I found it and got all happy. I got up close to it and discovered it was a steel building with a steel frame. The whole thing was a waste of time, but thank God it was a waste of time, arson is some serious shit. I remember walking away and telling God,”You think this is real funny up there, don’t you?” All I wanted to do was get out of the cold. I got back on the road and tried hitching a ride and I ran up on a car that I thought was stopping for me and I got too close and got my foot run over. 

I limped back to town and went to the hospital. They took an X-ray and nothing was broken. The nurse suggested I see a pediatrician when I got back to my home town. I just smiled and nodded at her. I just wanted to get out of Portola, it was cold, and boring. I tried hitching out of town and gave up after I couldnt get a ride all morning. I sat down on the side of the road and wrote I NEED HELP  CANT WALK on a map I had. The Highway Patrol stopped and called an ambulance for me. He said they would take me back to Portola. I told him I was trying to get out of there. He told me not to worry. When the ambulance arrived they loaded me in and took me all the way to Truckee. It was like an hour ride. I failed to see how much of a blessing this was until years later. In Truckee they gave me crutches to walk with. I had to wait until morning for a Greyhound out of there. I spent all night walking around. I went back to the hospital but they didnt want to hear anything I had to say, I was told to leave. When morning came I got a ticket and got on a bus out of there. 

I wound up getting sick and going to my old doctor, in The Central Valley. and he told me I had pnuemonia. He told me to stay in bed and take care of it or it could get worse. I didnt know what to do, I had nowhere to go to get better. It was winter time and cold at night. I wound up going to Pheonix, Az. and being homeless there for a while. It was hot, which was good because my pnuemonia got better. I only went to the hospital once for it. I wandered the streets aimlessly and wound up getting stopped one night by the police. They told me I was in a bad neighborhood, a lot of crime happened there. I replied,”So, what are they gonna do, kill me and take me away from this fairy tale life I’m living?” I continued to wander.

One morning just before dawn I came upon what looked like a prison, it had two high fences with razor wire on top and on the ground in between them. It was kind of foggy out as it got light and as I walked by there was this guy on the sidewalk ahead of me talking to no one I could see. As I got closer he stood there with his head tilted, looking back and forth like he was listening to someone. As I came up on him he looked at me and smiled big, he had these huge tweeker eyes, and he said.”Hey whats up, how you doing?, You know Art was just over at my place looking at my TV, and he said him and Marie was doing fine.” I walked faster when he started talking, but once I realized what he said I was scared. My fathers nickname was Art and he used to fix televisions. Everyone called my mom Mary, but her real name was Marie. As I walked faster now I looked behind me to see if he was real. A couple was walking past him and he was talking to them, they were telling him to get away. I still don’t know what to think of this little event in my life, but it’s one of the top 10  creepy things ever to happen to me.

Eventually I found out that The Salvation Army cared about the homeless so I went there and they got me in a room. I was inside for a couple of months. I took a short break from dope the whole time I was there and I didn’t like it. I wound up making breakfast one morning, taking a backpack full of stuff and coming back to California. I had left my place looking like I just mysteriously vanished into thin air.

When I got back I settled down in the Central Valley. Im pretty sure it was still the crystal capitol of the world. I was still trying to kill myself with dope because after the overdose in Reno I knew suicide wasnt for me. I realized that out of all the times I attempted it, I could have done it if I really wanted to, I never really wanted to and thats why I’m still here. It’s not an option. I still remember walking down the street and being proud of myself because I went a whole year without dope leaving my system. It’s a lame thing to be proud of, but thats where I was in my addiction. Plus I thought crystal would end my existence fast. Either by ruining my health, or overdosing. It was my only ticket off the planet. My last few months in the Valley I was mostly inside and I was dressing and it wasnt going away. I couldnt push it down and hide it anymore because I realized that it wasnt just about sex. I thought I had a crossdressing fetish, but it went much deeper. I had kept it a secret my whole life and It was time to expose it. For some reason I did not want to die with a secret. I had to bring it out into the light and I decided to come out slowly. I was living with my ex mother in law when this happened, and one of the strangest things in my addiction happened.

I woke up one morning and found a note on the kitchen table. It was from Helen, my ex mother in law. It just said,”Be back later”. I took the opportunity to do a shot of dope in the bright front bathroom. Helen had told me she was selling the house and moving to Michigan with my ex. I didnt know exactly when but I knew it was coming up. I wasn’t thinking about it that morning, I was thinking about getting high. I had just done my shot and I was watching my pupils dialate in the mirror when the doorbell rang. I got rid of of the issue and I swung open the front door, still getting rushes and I couldn’t believe it. Standing there was my ex, her husband, and my kids. I hadn’t seen them in years. They drove cross country to surprise Helen and take her back to Michigan. I thought it was some kind of cosmic joke being played on me. The odds of it happening have to be astronomical. It’s the last time I saw my kids, and the last time I saw Helen. She was like a mother to me, she’s the first person I came out to and she was accepting, and understanding. Two or three days later they were all gone and I was back on the street. I was having problems because of coming out, and every cop in town knew me and it was no fun, I got out of there. I left for San Francisco. I was starting to get a clue about myself.

I came to San Francisco to find myself, (some time in 2009) and I did. It was a very confusing time for me at first, and dope had a lot to do with the confusion. I was still trying to die, but I was too out there to realize that I wasn’t dying after all these years. I started out at the Greyhound Terminal, because it was loaded with homeless people. I met my first boyfriend there. We got together but it didn’t last long because he was gay, and he wanted a man not a woman. He wanted me to be a man and I said no way. By the time I met my second boyfriend, I knew I was a woman. He was totally into female transgender women and we were together for a little while. He introduced me to the biggest trans-bar in the city, and we would go often. After I got rid of him I would go back to meet guys. He was a heavy drinker and he would get bad when he needed alcohol. He ditched me at the Greyhound Terminal the morning I got assaulted.( Mothers day 2010) I never went back there and I never saw him again. it was fine with me. 

I had went out to a bar the night before and of course I was spun but I had MDMA put in my drink and I had a rough night. Joey left me outside the Greyhound terminal and I was sitting in front. I got approached by 2 guys wearing blue that were doing community service. They start calling me faggot and one sucker punches me. I jumped up and boxed him. He hit me about 4 or 5 times but I didnt feel it. All of a sudden he stops fighting and looks worried. I told him he hit like a bitch and his friend hit me in the temple with something. I went right down and heard bells going off. The cops showed up and chased me out of there, they didnt do anything. I went to the hospital and had no internal bleeding, but the ringing still hasnt stopped. I have permanent nerve damage and loss of hearing in that ear.

I went up to The Castro and wound up meeting J, it wasn’t short for Jay or any other name, just J. Jay was a Baba, which is some kind of Indian religious leader. She went to India for 5 years to study, and almost died of malaria. J was transgender, and dressed in robes and had a shaved head, wore makeup and taught me how to use eyeliner in different ways. J did tarot readings on the street for money and worshipped Kali and I worshipped Jesus, we never cared or judged each other and we became close. We had a campsite together in a park. We were never an official couple but it felt like it.The last time I saw J she was the head religious person at Occupied S.F. because they had a tent set up with alters for different people to go to. When that ended, (Jan 2012) I heard she went down to S. Ca. to write a book. 

I got lucky and the homeless outreach team got me a hotel. I was able to be myself without worrying about the assault. I was doing way too much dope the whole time I was there. I was going out mostly at night and wandering the streets, doing shots in alleys. I almost overdosed on heroin twice. I remember calling 911 from the hotel and waking up by the phone the next morning because the manager wouldnt let the paramedics in the building. Finally they wanted me to move into a permanent hotel and I didnt like it so I hit the streets again.

 I was still doing way too much crystal (I was getting eight balls for near nothing) I got to the point where it wasnt fun anymore, it was starting to make me sick. I wanted to stop but I couldnt. I would stay away from it for short periods but I would give in and do it. It got so bad that every time I did it I would have audio hallucinations and hear voices. I started doing crack but I wasnt smoking it, I was shooting it. I couldnt take the crash from the coke, it was too devastating, so I started doing heroin. I didnt get the nodding out high from heroin, I got spun from it so I switched over to heroin. I even got on methadon for a while, and not knowing any better, I just stopped taking it, I was on 80 mg and I wound up in the hospital three times. I went back to doing heroin. I was still doing crystal, but hardly at all.

I had realized that I was a woman but I was scared to come out full time because I got assaulted by two haters after my boyfriend left me at the Greyhound terminal. I got hit in the temple with something and I have nerve damage in my ear. It still rings to this day. I was walking around confused, wishing I was dead, hating my life. One day I noticed that my foot hurt when I wasnt loaded. My foot and ankle were swollen so I went to the hospital. They X-rayed it and said it wasnt broken, it must be infected. They gave me a script for a months worth of antibiotics and they referred me to a primary doctor. By the time I saw the doctor the pills were gone and my foot was still swollen, so I got stronger antibiotics and another month went by and my foot was still messed up and I was scared because it wasnt healing. I went to another hospital and they took another X-ray and told me my foot was broken. They gave me a brace and sent me on my way. I had walked around on a broken foot for two months.

My foot healed quickly and and all the crap I went through was worth it because when I got a primary doctor I also got a counselor and she changed my life. Her name was Inna and she was the first official person I came out to, and the first person to care about me in years. One of the first times I saw Inna I was kicking and I got so sick in her office I was on all fours puking in her garbage pail. Inna is the first person that told me about transitioning, no one had ever mentioned it to me on the street. No one ever asked if I was on HRT. I never heard of it, and why would I? I was out there for 11 years, no social media,no doctors,psychs, counselors, no one. I had no idea what President Obama did, I was out there both his terms. 

One day I went to see Inna and I was tore up. I was in bad shape. She commited me into an urgent care unit, I got taken there and I stayed a few days to detox until I got sent to a live in rehab. Inna set me up with my first transgender clinic, and while I was in rehab she put my name on housing lists. By the time I got out of rehab six months later I had my place that Im in now. She set me up with counselors and doctors too. I still smile when I think of her.

The first year after rehab was hard for me. I didn’t know how to deal with life straight. I didn’t know who I was without dope, it was like the old me didn’t exist anymore so there was nothing to go back to. Something would happen and suicide wasn’t an option, I couldn’t get high or drink, I felt trapped. I had no escape from anything, but it taught me how to deal. I finally said goodbye to crystal. When I let go of it I cried like I lost my best friend, even though it tore me up, I was heart broken for a while.It had been my constant companion for 10 years but I never thought I was attached to it like that. I worked hard on myself because I knew I was the problem. I learned CBT, and mindfulness, and meditation, I got plenty of counseling and I learned everything I could about my diagnosises, I got to know myself better and I started loving myself and my life.

This whole thing started in September 2003 in New York and it lasted until October 2013. Out of the 11 years I spent 8 homeless and even now I know I didnt get through all that alone. I feel that God was watching over me the whole time even though I was blaming Him for everything. I know better now and I am forever thankfull and gratefull to Him. I know now that I wouldnt be sitting here as the true me if  everything didn’t happen the way it did. I had to lose everything so I could start over clean.  It was all worth it to find myself because I have never been happier in my life, and I have never been closer to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

One of the reasons this is all being written is because I need an outline for the events that took place, and as I remember them I will add them. Eveterytime I come back and read this I remember something and I add it. All those years of addiction messed up my short term memory so this post will be changing.


One thought on “My Last Run

  1. Hi Toni,
    Thank you for posting your story, iv been to hell and back with my deppreshon as well, alcohol poisoning, overdose of medication’s didn’t work when i tryied to commit suicide a couple of times, it’s taken 4 years for me to work throw my problems and learn to love my self, now if i can only get my self out of hell and start transitioning.

    Liked by 1 person

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