Sunday, March 10, 2013

Are you gay?

*** Spring 1979 ***

I went to a small town school.  It served kindergarten through 8th grade with a total student body of about 300 kids ... average class size about 35 ... my class was huge at 41 kids.  Given a moment I could probably remember everyone's name, but I will concentrate on 3 people ... Scott, Angel and Ron.  These three were my closest friends, although I would not call any of them a best friend.  I was still a loner most of the time and only tolerated others when they wanted to hang around with me.

8th grade was a very awkward year for me.  Most of the girls in the class were well into puberty with many of them learning how to flaunt their breasts and figure very early ... I was jealous.

My body had already begun growing hair on the chest, the stomach and the back ... I was devastated.  I cried as I realized my body was quickly moving away from the female image I always had.  It didn't help that the boys in the class were suddenly interested in talking about sex and how big their penis was getting.

Although I got along with everyone in the class, I was not part of a clique.  Often I found myself the target of ridicule and teasing.  I am fortunate to have inherited a quick wit and a razor sharp sarcasm from my family.  If things seemed to get too out of control I was able to fend off the attacks and put the person who started the verbal battle on defense.

Thus the reason I was a loner most of the time.

Throughout the school year I noticed, or possibly created a gap between me and my three friends.  Often I would hear them talking about some subject and decide to make myself scarce.  They would sometimes persist and involve me in their conversations about how they thrill themselves when they are alone.  At one point I decided just to play stupid in hopes they might leave me alone.

Nope!!  They decided to draw pictures.

I decided to make fun of their pictures.

Exasperated, they asked if I knew what they were talking about.  I said yes, I just didn't feel the need to discuss it with them, or anyone.

One day in late May, towards the end of the school year Scott caught up to me after school.  The other kids weren't close enough to hear us talk, but they were around.  I could tell by his body language that this wasn't going to be a normal conversation ... then he just said it, "Are you gay?"

"No."  I stared him in the eye for a moment.  "No, I don't think so.  Why?"

He shifted his weight side to side while mumbling a bit of gibberish about me not wanting to be part of the guys' conversations.

"What difference does it make?"  The comment was actually a continued response to the original question, but it also applied to his rambling.  In a brief moment of courage I didn't care what he thought, or what anyone else thought.  "People make a big deal of what everyone else does ... or doesn't like to do.  Why should anyone be judged because they like something or do things you don't like?"  I paused, I wanted to tell him about me ... I didn't have the words ... courage gone.

*** *** ***

Ironically I am friends on my other facebook account with one of those three.  I wonder what he will say when I tell the others on that account about me.  I would really like to track down the others, but then again we were never really that close.  Finding them might dig up some of the feelings and frustrations I've long since moved past.

Lately I've been reliving many events from the past ... which of course is a big Well DUH because if I'm reliving or remembering it has to be from the past ... anyway ...

I find myself buried in thought, graphically reliving many moments.  Many of these moments are hurtful, depressing, traumatizing times of my life ... like when our oldest son died at three months old.  Other events are happier times, or events where things were not so stressful.  The times that eat at me most ... the time that make me wonder how my life would be different are the times that I almost came out ... the times I almost transitioned ... the times I almost freed myself and lived, but didn't.

If I had transitioned when I was 16 ... 18 ... 20, I would not have married my wife, we would not have had the joy of raising a wonderful son.

If I had transitioned when I was 25 or 30 would I have been given the opportunities at work that I received as a man?  Would my wife have chosen to stay with me?  Would my son have been treated the same at school, pursued the same goals, become the same young man he is?

I don't know ...

My wife and I went shopping yesterday ... Home Depot, Lowes and Michael's.  I was ma'amed  several times (Yay), but the best was when we were checking out.  The cashier called us ladies (Yay), and even after doing the close inspection ... and even after I hoisted a 50 pound item from the cart so she could scan the tag on the bottom, she still said, "Have a good evening ladies."

So I feel a bit more confident today, but know I have a lot of work to do to truly be perceived as female.