Monday, April 1, 2019

Five Years Living Truth

Anniversaries should be marked, says our culture.  I agree.  I mark them almost religiously.  I guess I'm overly nostalgic.  Or foolish.

In any case, this past week, I marked two anniversaries, but I haven't felt much like celebrating.  The Darkness is still upon me, and added to that was horrible news about a friend. 

March 25 marked five years since I started living my Truth full time.  No more him- only Her.  And today, March 31, marks five years since I started work at the bookstore as a woman.

I won't bore you, dear reader, with a summary of those five years.  It's all here on this blog anyway.

I can't believe I've survived this long.  I really can't.  I thought for sure that either I would've been murdered or done it myself by now.  Like most things as I age, it seems like the blink of an eye, yet was agonizingly long.  I am a FAR different person than I was when I first announced my Truth to the world. 

It's funny- the first 24 hours went fairly well.  I received a lot of support.  More than I expected actually.  I took screen shots of it all before I deleted my "male" account.  I sometimes look at it when I'm down.  I try not to think about how many of the people pledging support are no longer in my life.  For a change, I try to think about just that moment in time.

That moment in time happened around 10:50 PM the night before.  My computer was set up on a table in the living room in M's house.  There was a fire in the fireplace.  I forget what was on TV.  In the room were my future roomie/bestie Linda; and Kevin, who also lived there.  I typed my announcement in Word, based upon my "coming out letter." I checked it for spelling and grammar, copied it to facialbook, took a deep breath, and hit "enter."  I told Linda and Kevin "that's it.  It's done."  They congratulated me.  I then stood up and grabbed a cider from the fridge.  Before I returned, the first reactions started coming.

First Reactions

Before I sent that, I had to hide my Truth.  There were places I went as Him, and other places as Her.  For example, I went to Rock Bottom (bar) as Him, and McKenzies (bar) as Sophie.  Same with other places.  I never went out as Sophie without makeup, as I was afraid of being outed. 

It was worse before I told my Wife so long ago.  I jumped at shadows.

But, here's the thing (and I tell this to people just beginning to step out for the first time as their True selves:) If people aren't looking for you, they won't see you.  No one was looking for Lance, especially not Lance in a dress and makeup.  They may spot me as a "guy in a dress" but they wouldn't realize it was me.  Proof- that first night I went out on Halloween 2008, before I spoke to anyone, I walked around the book store.  One of my co-workers clocked me as cross-dressed, but didn't know it was me until I spoke to her. 

March 25, 2014  At the Keystone Conference

But back then, I didn't realize that.

Five years ago, I no longer worried about that.  I now jump at different shadows- wondering if someone is waiting to hurt/kill me for living my Truth. 

Bestselling author and Professor Jennifer Finney Boylan has said that the biggest change in Transition is NOT gender- it's going from "Having a massive secret" to "no longer having a massive secret."  She's absolutely right.  I can't describe that feeling of relief- of no longer having to hide.  I was finally Free.  For a few days, I was absolutely giddy! 

Reality set in on March 31st, 2014.  That was my first day of work at the book store.  Now, I'd been there the day before with Linda, so people could see me and get over the whole "hey- he's dressed like a woman" thing.  I also went to take the edge off of my fear. 

March 31, 2014- First day!

I arrived early, and sat in my car.  I was so scared!  The only fear I could compare it to was walking out the hotel door dressed as a woman the first time.  Or waiting to read my "Coming Out" letter to management.  As I often say, I used to run into burning buildings- but THIS was true fear.

It was raining that day.  I took a deep breath, opened the car door, then walked across the parking lot and into the store. 

I was so happy with what I saw!  Management had posted my "Coming out letter" along with informational materials I'd provided.  And on that display was a post it.

I found out later that it was written by my coworker Dani, who has been and continues to be one of my staunchest supporters.

I wrote about that day HERE.  I'll just quote one bit here:

About three hours into the shift, I stopped dead in my tracks and looked down at myself.  My name tag said "Sophie."  I wasn't wearing a compression shirt, so my breasts stood out proudly.  I was at work as ME.  I thought to myself "this is really happening.  This isn't a dream.  I'm here at work as a woman!"  And I couldn't wipe the smile from my face. 

That was a magical moment. 

Oh, the shirt I wore that day?  I haven't worn it since.  No real reason except that my breasts have gotten so much bigger that it no longer fits!  I still have it though.

Things wouldn't always be so good there.  I was misgendered often by customers, and occasionally by staff.  I was let go from the bookstore on February 13, 2018, along with 2800 others. 

Now it's five years on.  How do I feel?  Well, on the 25th, my dear friends Debbie, Sam, Katie, and my bestie Linda took me out to dinner to celebrate the occasion.  They gave me a beautiful necklace (which was dripping wet because I immediately knocked over a water glass when I sat down.)  I felt... at peace.  I felt lucky that some people think enough of me to do that. 

March 25, 2019

Aside from that?

Well, it's been a hard week, especially the past couple of days.  I won't go into detail, as it isn't pertinent to this topic. 

I look back to the person I was before, and I see a whole different person.  I see an a$$hole, who was in so much Pain, and filled with anger.  In many ways, I am still that person.  I like to think that I kept the best parts of him while shedding that skin.  I still like the same things, listen to the same music...

I'm often asked if I am Happy.  I always answer "No. But I'm at peace."

I guess that's enough.

With Internet Sensation Linda Lewis, March 25, 2019


Thank you to all of you who have followed this blog through the years- old veterans, and new readers alike.  I really appreciate every one of you.  Even you, Pat!  ;)

(And I love comments.  Just sayin'...)


  1. Hi Sophie and congratulations on being strong enough to take that first step 5 years ago. Keep on writing. Others will learn from your experience. And, Sophie, I'm so sorry about your friend.

    Calie xx

  2. Congratulations on your anniversary, Sophie.

  3. Celebrate these five years and every day as yourself.
    Tragic news about your friend. It's unbearably cruel when the greatest triumph turns in moments into the greatest disaster.

  4. It is not an easy road but strength is part of the game when you are trans. Congratulations on the 5 year anniversary Sophie!

  5. Hello Sophie,

    Long time reader. I do not comment often. Congratulations on five years! You, and YOUR courage were a big motivator for me finally going full time last July. Thank you for showing up! You have made a difference in my life!


  6. Sophie:

    So glad you're living your truth. And so glad you're alive.