…I look back at who I was, or as others saw me. I look back at the internal battles and internal preconceptions I had. I could never have imagined this life. And if I did I was too fearful to do anything about it. I thought I was alone…odd. A hetero who felt ‘he’ should be a ‘she’, not realizing the female was just bidding its tine awaiting emergence. That not being drawn to the male of the species meant I must be crazy.
To the defining moment when I had to change or disappear. The fear overwhelming. The leap of ‘faith’. The desperate sense of loss as I saw my family fading away as they tried to deal with what was being thrust upon them. Not a choice for me, but even less so than them. The confusion of being in between. The loneliness. The feeling I would never find love again, due to who I was and my age, and resigning myself to being alone for the rest of my life. The fear of the way others would treat me…..
And then plunging in…… Finding online a world of others growing daily who were having the same feelings and forming bonds. Trading information and feelings. Helping each other out. I have received as much as I have given. And I continue to give and receive.
Plunging in and throwing myself into volunteer activities, and finding that people accepted me. Didn’t always understand, but supported and buoyed me. Felt proud of me…. in many instances those who I was most proud of, those students who had passed through my life and kept me going all those years. Students who were each one wonderful individuals who I was proud and happy to have know… even when they had faltered in their own lives. Meeting others like myself who had passed the test of time and survived. Survived much worse that I ever could contemplate. Thrown away by parents and family to live on the street. Entering into the sex trade just to survive, often contracting life threatening diseases. Often turning to drugs to ‘get them through’. Often dying from either of those.
Realizing how good I had it and feeling guilty. Feeling like the character in Aurthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge who comments “There are none of us who have survived who are not guilty”. Coming to grips with that and trying to find a way to help others. Giving to causes I believed in until I couldn’t. Volunteering for fund raisers to support groups that offered support. Becoming a mentor in the Lifeworks project. Trying to be me and be visible, while trying to not be a caricature, but just another person. Not being afraid, or not showing it and going into stores through out the city, knowing I was being clocked, but trying to carry myself with respect and pride. To let those people know we are out there and we are your friends, relatives, and coworkers. We are not some menace to fear, or clowns to laugh at, but rather people like themselves trying to get by in a world that is often hostile to anything that is outside proscribed lines.
To finding…love. Not what I had expected and not from where I had expected. But powerful and sweeping. Knowing that I can feel her presence when she is not here. I can hear her laughter in my head, and I miss her arms when I sleep and she is not here. And I glow when she is with me. She has had her own issues..abandoned…rejected… She is so wonderful I can’t see how anyone could reject her, but I understand how the world works.
For she is transgendered as well. And scared. And used, And burned. And recovering…..and loved. Oh god so loved. She is my breath and my heart. I come alive when she is with me and bubble when she calls or texts me.
And tonight we turned a corner. Driving her home she looked out the window. We’ve dated for over two months. A look came across her and in the silence she quietly said “I think I am falling in love with you”. My heart melted and I kissed her lightly. I held her close, knowing as she did that I had seen her laughing as we played, and crying when her past overwhelmed her. I had seen her highs, and knew how low she had been. What she had done to survive. And it doesn’t matter. Because when we are together there is no past, only the promise of a future.
Because I will love her…
… to there.