Friday, January 3, 2020

Last Decade

I know I write about the past often.  I'm still trying to understand who I am, and why, so looking at the past is one way that I do this.  For that reason, I don't often do "year in review" things.  However, this time it's a new decade.  2020 marks the 7th decade in which I've lived.

I was born in 1966.  I only have a few vague memories of the 60s.  I remember watching the moon landing.  I remember falling down the stairs when I was two (I remember the sensation of falling and thinking "whee! I'm flying!) and breaking my arm (I don't remember that part.)

I remember the 70s.  I remember a dream from when I was three: a huge blob of living lava burned through a barn (this barn really existed, and had a huge hole in the one side, so...) Also in that dream there were a parade of brachiosauruses on the horizon, moving left to right.  Most of my childhood was the 70s.  However, it was also the decade of Star Wars, which changed my life as it did so many others.  

I began the 80s in junior high school.  I ended them as a college graduate.  In most ways that count, the 80s is when I "grew up."  Burned all my girl clothes because "men don't play dress up."  I fell into deep depression, from which I still haven't recovered.  Until recently, it was the decade of greatest change in my life.

In the 90s, I met and married my Wife.  I moved to Baltimore to work for Games Workshop.  Bought my first (and only) house.

00s... A decade of Hell.  We moved back to Pa to live with Wife's mother (MIL.)  My drinking was out of control.  Earned Masters degree.  I was angry at everything, especially myself.  I wrote a book, hoping to figure out why.  Daughter was born in 07.  Then my True self reemerged in 08 after 25 years of suppression.  Oh, and I started this blog on Myspace.

At the dawn of 2010, I was a VERY closeted cross dresser who was very confused and depressed.

I didn't know how deeply my femme self went, and I fought it as hard as I could.  In 2012, I finally stopped lying to my wife three and a half years after my "re-emergence" and told her all about Sophie

Also in 2012, I met a person who would affect my life profoundly: Lisa Empanada.  She was a friend and mentor, but more- she understood the Darkness in my soul, as she had it as well.

August 2012.  I was arrested for drunk driving.  I finally got help for my drinking.  I paid the price for my stupidity.

In December 2012, I decided, with Wife's consent, to start HRT.  I wasn't sure about transitioning, but heard that a low dose of estrogen helped with dysphoria.  It did.

Events escalated quickly.  I began getting more freelance work as an Instructional designer, so I was able to start paying off debts.  I also worked part time at Penn State Great Valley.  Then, in late summer of 2013,  MIL discovered I was transgender, and gave me 48 hours to move out.  Wife told me she was not coming with me, which crushed me.  I moved out on August 30, 2013. 

With Lisa at SCC

A week after I travelled to the Southern Comfort Conference (SCC), where I was "pinned in" as a sister of Vanity Club.  While there, I met someone who I didn't know would be a central figure of my life: Linda Lewis.  Lisa arrived the last day of the conference, which surprised me.  I didn't realize that this would be the last time we would ever speak. 

My birthday was September 13.  Four days later, on September 17, 2013, I was told that Lisa died of suicide.  After being thrown out, other issues, then her death, I tail-spinned into the Darkness.  I really don't know how I survived that month, and the next few. 

In late December 2013, Linda Lewis arrived from Michigan on her way to Florida.  Things fell apart while she was staying at the house where a dear friend graciously let me stay, and she stayed in Pa. 

March 2014.  I finally started living my Truth.  Lost 90% of my friends, and Instructional design calls stopped.

June 2014.  Linda and I found an apartment together, soon to be joined by Zoey, without whom we would've been homeless. 

June 2015, Linda and I moved to Phoenixville (Zoey previously moved back to Iowa) where I was closer to Wife and daughter. 

Cast of Dracula, 2019

November 2016.  The election puts a maniac in charge of our country.  Hate crimes against minorities, including transgender people, rise dramatically.  The end of the American experiment is a real possibility.

February 2017.  I made my stage debut as Sophie in the Vagina Monologues.  Sold out show. 

February 2018.  I lost my book store job after 14 years.  I was unemployed, except for odd jobs and Lyft, for over a year.  I felt absolutely worthless.

May 2018.  I travelled to the UK to reconnect with family and myself. 

January 2019.  I played a Maid in a local production of Dracula.  Sold out run. 

June 2019.  I played the courtesan Tintinabula in a local production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.  It will be my last play for a long time, as I have no time while studying.

August 2019: Linda and I moved to Penn State so I could begin my PhD studies in Adult and Continuing Education, after being accepted in March.

Linda and I in State College, 2019

Now it's January 2020.  I'm in my apartment in State College.  The new semester starts in a week.  How would I summarize the last decade?


Worst decade of my life. 

So many losses.  So much Pain.  Combined with deaths, and the uncertainty of who I really was, the Darkness was (and still is) still waiting to claim me as it did Lisa.  I am far from the same person who started the decade- in fact it was a whole different life.  Seems so distant, but it wasn't that long ago.   I started the decade as a "guy" in deep Pain, 

At the dawn of a New Decade, I feel useful.  I finished my first semester of doctoral study with a 3.97.  I work as a graduate assistant for the University.  Linda is also working.  I've made some new friends, and I'm mentoring an undergraduate transgender woman (still taking her earliest steps,) but for the most part keep to myself.  The colossal amount of homework precludes a social life. 

I'm living now as I have been for the past several years: day by day.  I don't make plans.  I do what I need to do.  People come and go.  Now in State College, I'll fade from more people's lives.  That's the way of things.

Cast of Forum

I still have no Hope.  45 is still in the White House, and it seems like weekly I lose more rights simply because I was born transgender.  Money is still a struggle, so surgeries are out of the question. 

Yet, I'm doing something here that may help others.  If I can help one transgender person have an easier time in transitioning, and/or survive, then this will all be worth it.  Nice to have purpose again.

So, this new decade brings so many challenges.  May it bring all of you happiness.

Be well.

1 comment:

  1. 3.97?!?!? Damn! Give yourself a pat on the back - that's phenomenal!

    Hope 2020 and beyond rock, Miss S. :c)

    == Cass