*** Spring 1972 ***
My brother, my sisters and I went to the local community church Sunday evening youth group. A very fancy name for a bunch of teenagers and younger kids getting together to play.
The church was a converted house ... the garage was turned into the sanctuary and the bedrooms were the Sunday school "classrooms." There was a nice sized yard for the church potlucks, and for the youth group to play different games ... this particular day the game was "red light ... green light."
Wait ... You've never heard of red light, green light?
It is actually pretty fun with the right sized group. One person plays the "traffic light" and the rest of the group is the "traffic." The group starts at the start line (duh) and waits for the traffic light to turn his (or her) back and say "Green light." You can run, skip, walk, jump or make whatever movement toward the finish line you want until the traffic light turns and says, "Red light." If the traffic light sees you move after he says red light you are sent back to the start line. Whoever crosses the finishes line wins.
It was rather frustrating being a 7 year old playing amongst teenagers ... my 11 year old brother was the next youngest kid in the group. We had fun, but whenever it came to anything remotely athletic I was so outmatched. When green light was called and we all ran I couldn't come close to keeping up. Likewise, when red light was called I couldn't stop as fast because I was running harder. I got sent back to the start a lot. I'm not going to go as far as to imply that they were picking on me, but it sure seemed like it sometimes.
After one particularly tiring and frustrating round I devised a strategy. I went and sat on the ground at the start line on the edge of the play field. When green light was called I scooted along the ground while others ran or walked.
Red light. I put my elbows on my knees and rested my chin on my hands.
Green light - scoot.
Red light - rest.
All the others were yelling, laughing and completely ignoring me. As they got sent to the start I kept scooting forward ... well, sideways if you want to be technical, but it was toward the goal ... and I was having a great time.
After quite a while I finally reached and touched the goal. I shrieked with excitement ... I had finally won a game.
But, no I didn't.
The pastor's son was the traffic signal. He looked at me and said, "You weren't playing."
"Yes I was."
"You cheated." He wouldn't back down. The sad thing is not one person, not even my brother and sisters backed me ... they didn't even tell me I had a good idea or any form of congratulations.
My life of transition has been a game of red light ... green light.
Some times I ran toward the goal, sometimes I walked or crawled, but I would be noticed ... or I was afraid I would be noticed, and I sent myself back to the start. Like in the game as a child, I never made it very far before returning to the beginning.
The last several years I've been sitting on the field watching my friends yell and laugh and have a good time as I scoot slowly along. I know some may think I'm not really in the game, but I am having fun knowing I'm moving toward the goal. The best part is I'm doing this virtually unnoticed ... and the goal is closer than ever before.
Unlike the game, at some point people will realize what I'm doing ... or I will tell them. Either way, I will either have to get up and walk, or I will have to stop ... I will not be sent back to the start line again.
The dreaded ... or needed hormone talk with the doctor is in my near future. That's when the scooting stops. That's when people will realize something is changing, even if I don't tell them.
My wife confided with to me the other day that her therapist had an awkward reaction (not necessarily negative, but not supportive) when she told her about me transitioning. Now I understand why she hasn't wanted to go to her counselor lately ... the counselor upset my wife because my wife loves and supports me. I am happy and saddened at the same time.
I am blessed that she wants to stay with me.
I am saddened because my transitioning is causing her a hardship.
On a side note ... We were in the DMV the other day. While we were waiting in line we started discussing boots and fashion of the other women around the building. I got a few strange looks as I was in sort of dude mode, but I didn't care.