Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Feelings from a Bittersweet Dream

This past weekend was Special.

I was me for over eighteen hours.  I wore a tank top.  Met people.

I attended a Private function this weekend.  It was a Birthday/ Affirmation party for my dear friend Lisa Empanada.  The party was held at her sister's home as it was her idea. 

Travelling Outfit

I woke up at 5 AM to prep myself.  I shaved my legs and chest in the shower.  The night before, Wife was kind enough to Nair my back.  I shaved my face very slowly.  By 8 AM, I was in Bethlehem, at True Colors Makeup for my appointment with Amanda Richards.  As it was a special day, I wanted to look special.  For the first time, I wore a tank top out.  I never wore one before, due to my hairiness, or my lack of real breasts or whatever.  But now, I could.  Small thing, but it felt like a triumph.


By 10 AM, I was on the second leg of my journey: Harrisburg.  I was going to pick up my friend Hayden and take him to Maryland with me, y'know- carpool.  On the way, I had to stop at a gas station to um powder my nose.  I pulled off route 22 in the middle of Pennsyltucky and found an Exxon Station.  I walked in and the two teenage girls behind the counter started smiling and giggling at me.  After, um, finishing in the ladies room, I picked up a diet coke and went to the counter.  Both watched my every step.  I remarked "Isn't it a beautiful day?"  (It was raining.)  Then I looked the one behind the register in the eye and said, in as light a tone as I could "So do you have any questions?"  Both of their jaws dropped.  The register girl handed me the change and I smiled at them, then left.

I picked up Hayden, then we took a slight detour- to the Sheraton where the Keystone Conference is held.  I wanted to go to the Fox and Hound for a quick "hi there!"  The bar manager wasn't there (dammit!) but the one bartender recognized me.  I had a drink and then we were back on the road.

At the Fox and Hound

A couple of rainy hours later, we pulled into the Avenue at White Marsh.  I wanted to go to Red Brick Station for some lunch.  Hayden and I sat in the bar.  Our server looked 14, and obviously clocked me, as she kept giving me strange looks.  In fact she brought out other servers to look, and sent other servers to the table to check on us.  The service was disappointing, but the food was good.  From there, we went to the Ramada Inn, where I was sharing a room with Hayden.  Platonically- get your minds out of the gutter.

At Red Brick.  I seem to cross my arms a lot.

Lisa was waiting for us there, and introduced us to a couple I'd never met.  Ally is a statuesque beauty from Richmond, and she was there with her partner Jay.  Both were an absolute delight.  Within minutes, I ran into Jessica, who was originally from Maryland, but is now in South Carolina.  We'd met before at the Keystone Conference.  My how SHE had changed!  She looked fantastic!  We had three rooms in a row on the ground floor.

So now we have the cast- we five would ride over to the party together in my car.  We still had a couple of hours until the event began, which was spent sorting out an outfit.  I also stood in front of our room watching a steady rain fall and thinking.

Party Outfit

At 5:15 we all piled into my Subaru and drove maybe ten minutes to the house where the party was being held.  It was in a rural neighborhood, and was quite nice.  The rain stopped, but everything was wet and muddy.  I remember putting on my shoes (I took them off to drive) and looking toward the yard and seeing all of the people.  I thought "I wonder what they're thinking- here come the freaks?"  I couldn't have been more wrong.

I started walking toward the back yard and I saw Lisa.  She was dressed in a white floral dress, and holding a bouquet of flowers.  Absolutely angelic.  She saw our group coming and smiled broadly.  I would find out later that she was feeling extremely nervous until we arrived, and we were like cavalry coming to her rescue!  I can't blame her- that had to be so incredibly stressful meeting so many relatives as a Woman for the first time.

Hugs all around.  Introductions.  So many people!

From here, in Ally's words, things got "surreal."

There were chairs arraigned like a classroom on the lawn, and for good reason.  Alexis Lake, Lisa's therapist, was giving a talk on TG 101, and followed that with a Q&A session.  There were many of the usual questions, and Lisa's answers were poignant.

There was a swirl of wine coolers, cheap beer, and so much food!  The hospitality was amazing!  Many people came to myself, Ally, and Alexis Lake with questions.  All but one person were so happy and supportive, especially the younger generations.  Maybe there is hope for the human race after all!

The cloudy day dissolved into a torchlit night as dance music played.  No one danced.  Everyone was busy talking, eating, drinking... celebrating. 

Me with Lisa and Ally

I had lots to drink.  That was ok, as Jessica was not drinking and was going to drive us back to
the hotel. 

The invitation said the party was ending at 10, and people started to leave.  Our group said our goodbyes to Lisa's family, then each of us hugged Lisa in turn.  She was glowing with happiness, brighter than any light. 

Her journey has truly begun.  She is now Alive. 

I shifted the gears for Jessica as she drove back to the hotel.  We stopped briefly at a 7-11 for water and yummies.  Then back to the Ramada.  The rain began to fall again, lightly misting the night.  Our group stood under the roof in front of our rooms and talked for a little bit, then Ally and Jay went off to their room.  Jessica invited Hayden and I to hang out in her room, which we did.

We talked about many things, but mostly of Jessica's transition.  It's like being a paramedic- get a couple of them together and they start telling "war stories" of past calls.  Get a couple of transgenders together and we discuss our stories.  We discussed Jessica's surgeries and Hayden's experiences as an FtoM.  Hayden soon became very tired and went back to the room.

I stayed and Jessica and I spoke deep into the night about many things.  It was obvious that neither of us wanted the night to end.  We'd been part of something VERY special, and we both knew it.  We ALL knew it.

We saw a unique flower blossoming for the first time. 

Yes, I know that's a cliché, but nothing else really fits.  She's blossomed and there's no going back.  Winter is over and her spring has arrived.

That night I had a very disturbing dream.  I discussed that in full in a previous blog entry.


How does this make me feel?

All of it? 

I am unspeakably happy for Lisa.  Seriously, words can't express my joy.  I am so happy that her family GETS it.  They will keep their loved one instead of casting her out for the sake of prejudice. 

I am extremely happy to have met some new people whom I think are so very nice.  Lisa's relatives are amazing!  But I also met Ally and Jay, and they are just so much fun!  Reconnecting with Jessica was fantastic as well, and our conversation helped put some things in perspective.

In fact the weekend was a huge resounding positive...

... so why did I cry for three days?

Well, I am a bit jealous of Lisa.  She's prettier than me, and her family embraces her.  She's earned all of this by being such an amazing person.

Family.  It comes down to that. 

My faithful readers know how I feel about my family.  How my parents treated me while I was growing up.  How I don't speak to my brother.  How some things just can't be forgiven.

My biological family in Scotland accepts me without question.  Here in America, I've always been an outcast.  How will they feel when they learn my Truth?

I'm crying because I need to build my family friend by friend, soul by soul, because the one God gave me just can't cope.  And like for so many of us, that loss is subconsciously crippling, no matter how we deal with it consciously.

I am building a family of strong souls.  I've said it many times and I'll say it again.  We TGs HAVE to be strong.  We ARE strong.  We are strong or we die.  It's that simple.  And this family of strong people will NOT fail me.  They will catch my fall.  Maybe not right away... but when it counts.

So many of us suffer.

So it does my soul good to see one of us... someone so beautiful and wise...

Succeed and Live.

So my tears of  self pity are mixed with tears of Joy.

Congratulations Lisa!  Welcome to the rest of your life!


1 comment:

  1. Glad you had a good time, hon! You looked fabulous!

    I can relate to being in a restaurant and having the server send others out to take a look at me. It was years ago, but the memory remains. Fortunately it doesn't happen often.

    All the best to you, hon!


    PS: I've been to the White Marsh area many times...