Thursday, December 10, 2015

Two Events

Ok, let's try to focus on the positive.

Last Friday, December 4, I had a day off work after 7 straight days of working retail during the holidays, including Black Friday.  I was physically, intellectually, and emotionally exhausted.

I slept in a bit.  Woke up... and received a text.   My dear friend Vanessa was coming to town for an appointment.  She lives ninety minutes north of me, and travels almost constantly for her job.  Add to that, she works as a contractor in a very male dominated field, where, if she were discovered as Trans, she would no longer be hired for jobs.  For this reason, she rarely gets to express herself as Vanessa.

I met Vanessa back in February 2009 at True Colors.  She had the appointment right after mine.  She saw Amanda's huge shoe selection, and immediately was in Heaven.  Vanessa loves shoes.  We spoke while Amanda finished my makeup.  We met later that night at the Renaissance meeting, then at Laptop Lounge.  She told me about her therapist, Dr. Maureen Osborne, and recommended her highly.  I called Dr. Osborne that Monday, and my life changed.  I can never repay Vanessa for that.

Vanessa and I the night we met.  February 2009

Vanessa has changed a lot over the years.  She no longer wears wigs, having grown out her hair.  Life has given her some nasty turns, but she still manages to keep going.  She recently attended my presentation at Penn State Abington, which she later said "may have been a tipping point in [her] life."

So, she was coming to town.  We made arrangements to meet for lunch, with my roomie and bestie Linda joining us at of our favorite bars, Rock Bottom.  Vanessa was a little late, so we had a glass of wine waiting for her.

Lunch was wonderful.  The three of us chatted and gossiped.  None of us wanted it to end.  So we all walked out into the mall.  Eventually, we found Santa Claus.  I insisted we have our picture taken with him.  And so we did.

I love this picture

Vanessa decided soon after that she had to go.  You see, her 21 year old son was getting done classes for the day, and needed a ride home.  He didn't know it, but he was going to meet Vanessa, not who he expected.  She had decided to finally come out to her son.  I don't have to tell you readers what a BIG step that is!

The next day, Vanessa texted me, saying it was awkward at first, then eventually went well.  Her son is gay, and understood having to keep her secret.  I am so unspeakably happy for her!

Oh, and Vanessa gave me gracious permission to post her pictures!  :)

A few days later, December 6, was Linda's birthday.  Linda's parents have disowned her for being trans, so birthdays aren't something she particularly enjoys.  In fact, she hates them.  A few weeks ago, when she was feeling particularly grouchy, she told me she didn't think anyone would even remember her birthday.

I was determined to prove her wrong.

I set a little scheme in motion.  I contacted local friends of us both, and invited them to a surprise birthday party. I told Linda that I wanted to take her out for her birthday for a nice dinner, and that our friend Kira would join us.  Kira lives in northern PA, so we rarely see her.  And Kira WAS there... I just didn't mention who else would be there.

The night before, my Wife wanted to go to dinner, and, when she learned that Linda's birthday was the next day, invited her to join us.  So Linda had a nice dinner the night before her birthday, and the staff sang happy birthday to her.

Linda enjoys a margarita the night before her birthday

I worked 11-7 that day.  The arrangements were that people were to gather at Rock Bottom around 7:30, and we'd arrive around 7:45.  And so we did.  Linda broke into huge smile when she saw everyone.  Hugs all around.

Jone, Lilia, and Kira.  Jane is photobombing

Linda isn't the most demonstrative person emotionally.  She keeps her feelings to herself for the most part.  However, I knew she was happy that night.  She couldn't stop smiling.  Ten people had shown up to celebrate her special day, and they all brought gifts.

Linda with Jake and Rhiannon, who we met at TDOR

Most of us had a little food, and several drinks.  Some of the people didn't know each other, but by the end of the night, it looked like they had become new friends.

The night ended too quickly.  Linda had to work the next morning, so we said our goodbyes and headed out into the chilly night.  Linda told me she was completely surprised by the party.  I smiled.  I wanted to give her a special birthday, and I think I succeeded.

Elizabeth and I

A special THANK YOU  to my dear friends Kristyn and Jone for helping me with the bill!  Without you two, I'd still be washing dishes at the restaurant to work off the check!

Dishpan hands for Sophie!

In the end, despite all the horrible news around the world, at least there were some vestiges of light here.  There's an old cliche that friends are the family we choose for ourselves, and it's true.  Especially for TGs.  So many of us lose their family, so our friends are sometimes all we have  keep us from the Darkness.

I am blessed to have people like Linda and Vanessa in my life.  And Jane, Diane, Jone, Kristyn, Lilia, Elizabeth, Kira, and new friend Selma!

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