This past weekend in New Hope, PA was another of Jen Bryant's Raven parties. In fact it was the 21st, and there were the requisite jokes about it being legal and all that.
Ha ha hee hee ho ho.
Red Carpet at Raven 21
Jen Bryant has really become the beautiful "face" of the Philly transwoman. She's an ad executive whose transition has been covered in newspapers. And she's been a force in the community for some time, joining Angela Gardner in picking up where Sandy Martin left off in arraigning safe events for the greater metropolitan trans community to gather. And Philly has a rather large trans community. Someday I keep telling myself I'll write an article about the Philly trans scene from the perspective of a transperson (as a few have been written by cisgender writers.) But I digress.
The weekend featured the usual events- the gathering at the Ramada on Friday night, lunch and shopping during Saturday, then the red carpet and dinner at the Raven, followed by the party. Linda Lewis and I attended the Ramada thing then the red carpet and dinner. We dined with Sandy Empanada, Ally Raymond, Hayden, Veronica, Karen Kendra Holmes, Kira Morgan, and John. A wonderful time was had by all. For the record, Linda had Chicken Awesome while I had Chicken Mediocre.
Veronica, Ally, Me (slouching), Karen, Linda
But the basis of this entry happened later. Dancing had started. I'd had a wonderful conversation with two lesbian women about the meaning of womanhood, and about how singing brings people together. (This happened in the Raven's piano bar.) I walked out to my car to drop something off, when I encountered someone I knew. She went elsewhere for dinner with friends, and was quite drunk. She was belligerent, in my face and just annoying. And in her, I saw myself as I was.
I saw Lance.
And I felt ashamed.
For so many many years I saw alcohol as a refuge. I KNEW I could out-drink anyone, and used that to prove my manhood. And when I got drunk, I became an asshole... just like this person was.
Don't get me wrong. I know this person, and she's normally very even tempered and pleasant. She's just started her journey towards full time after a few false stops. She's a good person. But drunk?
And I wondered how many people in our community thought that of me.
You see, my alcohol intake has decreased sharply. I just don't want it any more. I hate the feeling of losing control that I craved before. I hate the sickness in the stomach. And I'm sick to death of hangovers. Since my DUI a few years ago, I have REALLY cut back. And I thank God for that.
I drank a bit after Lisa died, but I learned that alcohol was no longer the hiding place that it once was for me. It was a broken crutch. I needed to Grow Up and face my demons. And in many ways I have- by admitting to myself and the world my True Self. And by walking through the Darkness back to the Light.
By seeing my drinking for what it was.
I drank a LOT in college. And I was proud of it. Not long ago, after I came out to an old friend, she said that I'd developed a reputation in recent years as a Drunk. And I couldn't refute that.
What could I say? She was right.
I'm not 21 years old anymore. I'm 48. And I'm no longer pretending to be a male anymore. I am a Woman.
Growing up takes many steps and a LOT of time. I will never fully grow up. A favorite song of mine by Marillion stated that "Without direction, there is no Childhood's End." And now I HAVE direction. I have found that which I never had: Myself. Sophie.
And I'm no longer ashamed.
I no longer find shame in being a Woman. While I still have secrets, and always will, the Big One is out now for all to see. I am not ashamed to say I am Trans.
Some may still find my behavior shameful or even shameless. It used to be I'd make no apologies. But I'm tired of being the Asshole. I saw myself in that parking lot in the Raven (and I bumped into her a few times inside as well) and didn't like what I saw. But at 48, I can say that I can change... and HAVE changed. The angry young man has been replaced...
By a Woman at Peace.