Monday, August 12, 2013

Expanding my world.

*** August 1986

My life was a shambles.  I had spent the better part of three years flailing through community college looking to either move on to a university or to drop out and run away.

Run away from my home.

Run away from myself.

An unexpected situation in December of 1985 changed the direction of my life.  I had broken my ankle playing volleyball and due to the decreased mobility I decided to take the Emergency Medical Technician class just to fill units to keep me as a full time student.

I decided to get a job on an ambulance to save money for my escape.  It was simple, I would either move to Alaska and get a medic job in one of many industries or I would run to Los Angeles and try to find my way through my transition at a time when there was little or not information, and even less support for transgender people.

I was cutting ties ... with everyone.  I wanted to disappear.  I did not want new friends, I did not need a relationship.

In hindsight, the issues and feelings were likely my first bout with depression and anxiety ... but I was a man.  Men don't talk about their feelings ... they tough it out.

My plan was working.

All I needed was eight to ten months to have enough money to get out of Ventura county.

But ...

I met Pam.  I knew instantly I had feelings for her.  She was, and is beautiful inside and out.  She was simply the most caring person I ever met ... and she showed in me.  Even after I lowered my mask a bit she still liked me.

Worse than that, she loved me ... She was not supposed to fall in love with me ... I was supposed to run away and never look back.

In March 1987 we married in Las Vegas.  I am happy I chose to stay.

*** ***

On the advice of friends, I am removing the term "dude mode" from my vocabulary.  Many more times than not (75% to 80%) of the time I am addressed in public I am called ma'am or miss.  The majority of the rest of the times I am addressed with no gender marker attached.  It is very rare that I am called sir.

It doesn't matter how I am dressed, if I've shaved, how my hair is, I get called ma'am.  This makes me happy.

For the first time in a long time Pam and I went to get basic mani / pedi from our favorite place. b The last time we were there was December, before my surgery.  My hair was still long, but dirty blonde.  My beard was much more visible.  I was not wearing makeup.  I was not carrying a purse.

All that changed.

The owner recognized Pam, but I don't think he recognized me.

It is part of the learning curve, but Pam used male pronouns when referring to me.  It didn't bother me because I am not used to being referred to as "she" or "her" or "Tiffanie" from my wife ... we both need to work on that.

The staff was speaking Filipino a lot more than usual ... If I was the paranoid type I would think they were likely talking about me.

Actually, I am the paranoid type ... I don't care that they talked about me, if they were.

So several weeks ago I was talking to my niece, Sedona.  I asked her if she had mentioned anything about me to her mom (my eldest sister).  She said she didn't think I wanted her to.  She truly is a wonderful young lady.

I told her I didn't mind if she said something.  I know they talk on a regular basis, and my transition has become a part of Sedona's life.  If she wants to or needs to talk about it, I trust her judgment.

She did tell Linda.

I waited a bit then decided to communicate through Facebook.  I can understand that she is likely a bit shocked, but her main concern is my well being.  I have mentioned many things about Linda in previous posts ... this is the sister I remember giving me a "comfortable" every night ... and when she moved away she made me a sign that said "comfortable" so I could tuck myself in.

I know she will be there to support me as I inform my other siblings.  I am not expecting her to fight my battles nor try to convince the siblings that may not accept my decision.  I just want an ear to listen to my concerns and grumblings as I continue on my journey.

Thank you Linda.  You and Sedona have become a much bigger part of my life.