Preface: As I was writing this, I realized that it had a chance of never seeing the light of day… So I put this on Facebook and many people pledged help me make sure it get posted.
I started writing a blog post. It has made me cry. Normally at this point I would stop. I would stop wiring for the public and turn it into a private journal entry….
However, it needs to be said. And therefore I post this to force myself to post this blog post and make sure it becomes public.
If i don’t post it before the end of Friday February 20th I demand that someone hold my feet to the fire and make sure it get it posted ASAP. If midnight comes and I have not posted it…. You, each and every one of you… Has the permission to call/bother/text/message/ whatever. Bother me. Every 5 minutes. Until It’s posted.
To make sure I post the post I am writing… Know that it is entitled “Reunions.” If I post anything else.. you are likewise allowed to call my bluff and bother me every 5 minutes.
You… means YOU ALL.
I know my escapist tactics; this is where they will return, if they ever return.
There has been so much going on. The fun continues this “weekend.” Please keep in mind that the word “weekend” for me is normally as Saturday 8am to Tuesday 9pm because of my weird work schedule. Which oddly enough means if I get no sleep I can have a 4-day weekend every week. I more or less get all of Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. This week I have also taken Friday (night) off. Which means today is the first day of my weekend. This weekend I am going to have a weekend comparable to a normal workweek, and only have to take one day off to do it. It seems there are some benefits to my odd schedule. My weekend has begun as of Friday 8am. I will not sleep until Friday probably around 11p at the earliest… at which point I will have been up 31 hours. However, that is to buy myself an extra day into my weekend. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and I will have a similar sleep deficit to buy myself Tuesday. A 5-day weekend after taking only one day off, that is good… Why am I getting little sleep and taking a day off work? I am doing this for another reunion that is important to me. There have been so many reunions happening in my life, each one of them has held a deeper meaning to my heart than I think most people noticed.
I want to start this post with the song that ended last week’s post. It is a song by a band called Oasis the song is called Falling Down. The first reunion I had to handle was one that I had with myself. I felt, to an extent that I had a life put together. I had filled that life with depression and anxiety carefully covered up. It was still my life. People at work said, “Living the dream” all the time. I did not know if they meant it sarcastically, but that is how I took it. I developed a response, “One nightmare at a time.” In retrospect that was I living a dying dream. It did not have much time left… Then March 2013 came and I started opening doors and realizing things. I started looking back on pieces and putting them together. Then, the summer sun came. The summer sun blew my mind. It illuminated everything clear as day and everything around fell down on all that I ever knew. I had screamed for years, many years, but no one ever knew including myself. A dying scream, makes no sound. For many years I reached out for help in many ways, including to God(ess) but that was to no avail. It was a waste of time to look externally for my answers. I had to look inside… Therefore, I did. On one day, I thought about myself completely as a woman for the first time. On the day that I accepted that, I might be transgender I cried tears of joy. I cried the tears that fill the ocean wide. I cried tears until the next summer… 2014. I was in Japan at the time. It was the middle of summer. This is the actual music video Oasis made for their song. It is a better representation of how I felt then. The song even starts by interrupting another. Just like my life interrupted itself.
That first reunion with myself was amazing! I cried tears of joy, but also tears of sadness and anger. I started looking back on my life in anger. For the rest of summer and the beginning of fall I became of self-destructive and angry person. I just wanted to find happiness in my life again. The fact that I had thought of myself as a woman made me so happy in that moment. When I had to face the fact that I was a man my life was a shattered. Every day I took a shower and had to face the fact that I was a man. Every day I cried. I tear up now even thinking about that time. I wanted so badly to unrealize what I had realized. I should have been a woman. Everything in my life clicked into place. Everything made sense. Every time I acted out. Every time I hurt someone. Every time I denied who or what I was inside my heart. It is because I was born into this horrible body. I was born into this horrible place in society. I was not a man because of my heart, soul, and mind. I was not a woman because of my body. I had no place in society. I feared I could never be the person I was supposed to be.
I feared I could never be the person I was supposed to be. I hated the person I was. I suffered under these darkest thoughts… The darkest of thoughts had returned. I did not consider it as much as I did in high school… but I started considering again, what if I was not here. I started asking myself “What If I didn’t exist?” Everyone would be better off. Is it something about that building that makes me consider those darkest of thoughts? Then everyone around me, without even realizing it probably, rallied around me and sent me a message. I do not even know if the message intentional. I do not know if anyone saw those dark thoughts within me but everyone seemed to say… Everyone in my life all at once said: “Don’t look back in anger!” I do not know if that is what you all were saying, but that is what I heard you say.
Then I removed myself from everything around me. I needed time to sort it all out, but before that though, I needed to confess my feelings to someone. I told the person I trusted most, my then fiancé… He is now my husband. I told him about the travesty I thought I was. I told him about the mess I had become. I told him about my flaws. I told him my weaknesses. I finally opened my heart to him, something I should have done a long time ago. I told him what I thought I was, and should be… His Response: “I’ve known for a while I was just waiting for you to tell me.” I knew at that moment, for sure. He was the person I needed forever. In that moment he took all my fears, all my angers, all my hate, and all my darkness, he took them and shredded them. Someone had accepted me; someone had accepted me for me. We got married shortly thereafter. Now, I had two important reunions in a couple months. Most people would be content with that. Was I? No.
While I had continued to isolate myself, I was no longer alone like I was in the past. My husband was there to help me though each emotion I had, each fear, each anger, each sadness. I needed to write out my past. At this point, I only thought I might be the person that I now know myself to be. I spent a couple weeks writing out what amounts to an autobiography putting all these details together. Looking at them all together through the lens of retrospect was amazing. It took me a couple weeks but writing all that out gave me another reunion. It was a reunion with my soul. They talk about people losing their soul, or people being soul less. For many years, I believe I was. All of a sudden, the world had color again. I could see positives I could appreciate myself. The choices I made, good choices, and bad choices, now feel like they were not random but part of a larger picture. I was on my way to being complete again. That was all the confirmation I needed. I was finally free. At this point, my shell shattered down around me. The wall of being born a man seemed like it was climbable. I was finally free to be whatever I wanted.
I started coming out the next week. I came out to friends, family, and the world. It began reunions with everyone I knew. Some of those matured very quickly, some did not, which is fine. Each acceptance gave me power to move forward. Each doubt expressed made me consider my position and make my positions more clear. Each piece made me feel whole. Like a snowball rolling down the hill, I was picking up steam fast. I pushed myself into as much change as quickly as possible and there were people pushed away. For that, I am sorry. I was trying to change as much as possible as quickly as possible I did not realize at the time that would cause problems. It became overwhelming for some. Yet, I felt like I was not moving fast enough. A conflict made me realize the importance of being idle.
Each step I take that effects people, I have to do this transition with them, not notify them after the fact. As November and my birthday came around I finally gained the courage to reach out to my birth mother. It was a change I could make without touching anyone around me, or so I thought. My parents were already coping with my being transgender. Now I have told them “I’ve reached out to my birth mother.” I do not think they knew how to react but that started an emotional reunion with them. In December, I they both gave me quite a bit of documentation that looked at my past. It helped me understand their motivations and perspective when I was struggling. It was quite a moment for me. I felt like I fit into a plan. I felt like I finally had a view of my life that was comprehensive. I finally understood my life from when I joined my family until the day where I stood. I understood, or at least I thought I did that I fit into a master plan, but something was still missing when my birth mother did not reach back it hurt. My past and the first couple of months of my life were still a void. If I was going to plan my life ahead, how was I going to do that without knowing where I come from?
The documentation my parents gave me also gave me a couple more key pieces of information and I sent another message to my birth mom. I had gone against my word that I would not try again but the method that I first tried was flawed. My mom encouraged me saying, “If she knew you were reaching out to her there’s no way she wouldn’t reach back.” That and the documentation gave me a couple more key pieces of information. I sent a handwritten snail mail letter. Sometimes, technology is not the answer… Two days later, I got a response. The reunion with my birth mom was amazing. That relationship was quickly able to build. That brought me into the New Year. She, and everyone around her accepting me for who I was and I was quickly welcomed back to that family. Now, I have found myself with a loving husband, three families that all love me countless friends that support me. I am in a workplace with coworkers that accept me, and work together with me to provide a better connected tomorrow. Most importantly that work is separate from my dark, dark, past. I could not grow in that building. With that, I feel so much love. I realized my life was missing this feeling for so many years. The word “love” honestly had very little meaning to me until recently. Now, I want love and the positive feelings involved to drive my life. I want to love those around me, I want to love what I do, and I want to love my life.
Regardless of how much love I felt from outside there was still something missing. I had no love on the inside. I still felt bad about myself. I still felt incomplete. It was January. I was still angry with who/what I was. I had built a plan and a schedule for transition. While I liked the plan, I was afraid of the next step. I was afraid of Hormone Replacement Therapy. I so much hate(d) my body that I wanted it to change. I wished for things to happen that for any other person would be a “tragic accident” at the most positive. I wanted some things to disappear. I wanted other things to appear. I wanted to look in the mirror and smile. At the beginning of January, that was still a distant dream. To an extent, it still seems so far away.
Each step along my path I learn repeatedly, it is not just my journey. It is a journey that for better or worse I am sharing with all of you and dragging you along. It is not your choice, I know, but it is still our journey. My husband had to intervene. He motivated me to make the call. He encouraged me to set up the appointment. That was in early January, then it became one of the longest months of my life. The first appointment was on February 4, 2015. Each day that passed, I felt less and less comfortable with my body. Hearing people refer to me as a man felt worse and worse. However, I frequently become stuck thinking this is my journey. Things said are stinging more and more and more every day. Yet I do things that hurt for all of you as part of this journey. This transition has a scope much bigger than just being contained to me.
Today I had another reunion. A cousin who I had not seen in 15+ years came to Chicago. Seeing her made me amazingly happy. I feel like talking to her about things that honestly were mundane was not mundane at all. There were awkward moments sure, but it was amazing to see her again! She is going to be here all weekend, leaving Tuesday afternoon so let the fun times roll! This is the reason I took the day off and I am getting little sleep today. I saw an opportunity to clear my schedule for her entire trip to Chicago, so I took it. Although after I have finished this post, I am going to bed.
However, there’s more happening this weekend… I start Hormone Replacement Therapy in 3 days on Monday… After the first appointment for hormones, I was excited, but I still had a 3 week wait before actually starting hormones. Why? Nobody enforced it on me… I chose to wait. I wanted to see what would happen to my mind and heart. Each day that went on, I looked at the changes more and more. I was going to have another reunion. This time the reunion was with something I hated, puberty. This one I feel will be more of a revenge than a reunion. I will come of puberty again in a couple of years. I will be confident. I will be strong. I will be the person I was destined to be instead of a weak shell hiding from life and love. I am up for the challenge. It is on puberty. Come and get me. I am winning this time. On Monday, it begins.
I was looking for a song to wrap all this up. I really like ending with a video that kind of sums of my feeling when a post is ending. I really had a hard time for this one. I try to use original production videos if I can. I had a video/song in mind but the original video is from 1990 and, as of right now looks, horribly dated to me. In many ways, the video goes AGAINST the things said in the song when looked at in 2015. I found a more recent stage recording of the song. The video ties together with the song much better and it doesn’t invalidate some of the songs own comments when looked at it today, however the song has been remixed and some of the beauty of the song is lost in my mind. I have decided having said that I am going to put BOTH versions up and let you all choose.
What complicates the matter further is that I knew I was going to use this song on the blog eventually I wanted to pick the perfect moment. I have loved this song for a great deal of time. It means quite a deal for me. There are comments about racism, sexism, gender equality, about self-confidence, self-identity, and all of the things I have been fighting with for years. I feel like this song is an exclamation point. I am beginning the reunion that I have needed for years, the reunion with puberty. This song has always been a go to for positive feelings for me. It is about standing up, as you are, whoever you are, however you are. It is about loosening up and being yourself. However, most importantly it tells me to STRIKE A POSE.
Old version (1990):
New Version (2012):