Sunday, July 14, 2013

Old photos, little kittens and Johnny Depp

It seems like every entry I either mention my cats, the feral cat and kittens, or I post pictures of them.

I love cats ...

I love animals.

I've always had a way with animals ... calming angry dogs, taming a wild bunny so I could pet it, having animals approach me that shy away from others.  All of the cats we have have adopted us ... or me.

*** Fall 1998

I open the gate to the small yard behind our apartment.  A small ginger tabby cat sat on our back porch drinking water that we put out for the neighbor cats.

I startled her and she ran away.

A family from a different building had moved out a couple weeks ago.  Did they abandon her?

Several days later I saw her again.  "It's ok," I said as I squatted near the gate.

She started to run.

"No, no, no."  I extended a hand.  "I won't hurt you ... Come here."

She stopped and stared at me.

"Come here, baby."

She walked over and smelled my hand ... then she rubbed against it.

It was official ... Red adopted us.  This cute little polydactyl kitty became out first cat in many years.  We would find out from the vet that she was likely 7 years old already ... but he wasn't positive.

She would be a mother figure to Moose when he adopted me a year or so later.

*** August 2009

Red was getting more frail.  We expected that this was normal ... after all she would be close to 17 years old if the vet was accurate on his age estimate.

It was late on a Friday night when we saw her stumble ... or her legs gave out for a moment ... I'm not sure, but it was noticeable.  "If she does this any more we need to take her to the vet," I said.  I had an uneasy feeling, but did not want to think of the possibilities.

Saturday was a much more difficult day for Red.  She barely ate ... she could hardly get around.

I knew the end was near ... I knew the visit to the vet would likely have her not return home with us.

She stayed close to me as much as she could.  When she couldn't climb onto the chair beside me, I helped her.

By the time Sunday evening rolled around she was barely moving.

There was a moment before we went to bed that Moose approached Red ... they stared at each other for a moment then Moose rubbed his nose against her.  He then lied down close by and whined.

Monday morning found Red unable to stand at all.

I laid her on a blanket near the couch with water and food.  I could not call in sick to work ... it was going to be up to Pam to get her to the vet.  I just hoped Red would hang inlong enough ... but then again it might be better if she didn't.

She made a feeble cry.

I felt numb ... I sat beside her and petted her head.  "It's alright ... don't be afraid."

She grabbed my finger with the thumbs on her paw.  She trembled.

"Don't fight ... just let go."  I continued to pet her with my other hand.  "Don't be afraid ... it won't hurt."

A brief gasp ... she released her grip on my finger.

I cried

*** ***

A wonderful friend on Facebook is watching one of her precious kitties pass to the other side.  I so feel her pain.

What you cannot possibly know ... it has taken me nearly 2 hours to write this story because I needed to pause many times to cry.

I have been on estrogen for 6 weeks now, and I am truly amazed how easily the tears come now ... how different, how open my emotions have become.  I always knew emotions were wonderful ... and now I truly feel them.

The physical effects of hormones are also becoming obvious as well.  My muscular strength is decreasing ... my skin is becoming smooth ... and of course my breasts are beginning to develop.

But you've heard this before.

Very recently I stumbled across some old photos of me ... with a beard, with short hair, in pretty good physical condition.

I do not like them ... I will likely delete some of them, but not all.

I had a strange conversation with my sister and nieces a short time back.  We wound up talking about Johnny Depp ... his movies and characters.

It reminded me that he first became popular when he was on 21 Jump Street.  Yes, I know he was in Nightmare on Elm Street and other projects, but that television show seemed to really launch his career.  I also remember (paraphrasing several interviews over the years) that he did not like the show, or at least the character they asked him to play.  He knew he had so much more potential than just playing the teenage heartthrob.

He was right.

He says that despite disliking that roll, he is very happy that he had that opportunity because it brought him to where he is today.

OK ... Johnny Depp fans, please do not inundate me with verbatim quotes from Johnny across the years.  It was the senti
ment of the statements I was relaying.

Just like my old photos.

I am not ashamed of the life I've lived.  I have been very happy with many aspects of my life ... with many of the opportunities I have been given.  I found my soul mate, I raised a wonderful son, I have worked my way into an important position ... I may not have experienced any of this had I transitioned earlier in life ... if I had been born a girl.

I want to keep some of the photos for sentimental reasons ... special times with my wife or son ... family events ... unusually silly, fun, sad or joyous occasions.

I want to eliminate the ones that are phony ... me trying so hard to be masculine ... a real man ... because I wasn't.  Those photos bring back dark and disturbing memories ... times I wish I could undo, but cannot.

But even these times are woven into my life fabric and are just as much a part of who I am today as anything else.

Like Johnny Depp, I always knew I was meant to be so much more than the role I was playing.  Now I can discover my true potential.