Short on reading time? Here's a sampling of the best & worst days of my transgendered existence...
santa "arrived" - one day late 12/26/02
I just had the most emotional experience of my "young" female life.
It began with a quest for unimaginable savings at a pair of Malls. There I was - throwing elbows with the best of 'em and relishing the search for high-quality garb at cutthroat prices. Upon achieving quota, my shopping associate and I made our way to the Lenox Mall food court area to add a few of calories to our weighty paper luggage - and the bags carrying them.
What a fabulous day! I owned new clothing and hadn't yet ruined my credit rating. I felt good & even looked well. This - was one of those oft-underrated moments in life and I was relishing the experience.
After taking turns guarding treasures and ordering food, we secured the only remaining location free of debris or competing shoppers. Seated at the table next to us was an absolutely adorable young boy who looked to be about four or five years-of-age. I noticed his father seemed busy corralling the other two children from the clan, so I struck up a conversation: quizzing him on his successes from "Santa".
This lad seemed a bit on the shy side. Thus, as I sometimes do with a child that age - I scavenged some tableside paraphernalia and began performing an impromptu "magic act" for my newfound pal. That - opened him up to grins and giggles. A couple of minutes later, his sisters and dear old dad made their way over to us. As my audience grew, I expanded this onslaught of amazing feats with the aid of loose change, napkins, packets of Equal, empty coffee cups and whatever else my young friends requisitioned from the tables situated around us. It was a cheery & pleasing encounter.
Shortly after the curtain closed and I began focusing on the meal before me, I noticed that the boy got very quiet. He subsequently walked over to his father - whispering in his ear - all the while clearly staring at me. Neither of them was smiling and I couldn't help but observe that his father seemed to be getting emotional as they spoke.
At this point, I'm intently gawking across the table at my friend with that "what the hell is about to happen?" look in my eyes. As a not yet living full-time "as a woman" transsexual female, I couldn't help but explore some fears. I felt uneasy, only glancing from the corner of my eye at the discussion going on beside me.
This father now hugs his son - and asks all his children to remove their food trays. He then turns to me, lightly places his hand on my now tense shoulder and begins to explain how his wife of fourteen-years died about three months ago from breast cancer. He expresses that his son took her death particularly hard, almost never mentioning "her", and that their holiday was especially challenging. Thus, you know what happened after he shared what his son had just now told him:
"That woman, reminds me of mommy".
Immediately, the father starts crying, I'm crying, my friend joins in - and those returning children looking frightened as they gander at three adults broken into tears. Consequently, I reached for the boy, hugged him very tightly and whispered in his ear "his mother loves him". I now wish I could've thought of something more profound to say but that was about all the words I could muster as I fought back additional tears.
After my girlfriend & I managed to make our way into the confines of her automobile - I totally broke down. I mean - I lost it. I'm certain any tranny would've gotten emotional from that experience. "Who wouldn't?" To be thought of that way as a woman - by a child...that's very heavy stuff - for a transsexual female.
Still, the root-cause of my inability to quit sobbing lay not just in this moving life experience - but also in an important event leading up to it.
This Christmas, I didn't ask for any presents. I sought no material objects from anyone. I did, however - commit a silent prayer for something during December 2002.
I'm childless - and pretty much family-less. If you know me personally or read my on-line journals this past year - you're aware: I'm a somewhat lonely camper. Thus, I asked Santa for a very tall order: for "a very special person to tell me that they 'loved me'...and really mean it."
I suppose Santa must've been extra busy this year.
I got my wish...one day late.
I'm crying again now, so I'll wrap this up with the only words that seem to come to mind...
God bless us - every "one".
a poem 09-29-02
A poem I wrote in honor to those that worked so hard to make SCC 2002 so special for all of thus that attended...
The Back of the Bus
A Tribute to Southern Comfort Conference 2002
By Renee Reyes
For "passing" first grade, they made him return
How’s that for success, and some luck?
Thus, early to bed – a peck on his head
He waited outside for the truck.
Climbing on board, grabbing a seat
Eyes chasing each minor fuss,
Spying in verso – a dark-skinned young lady
– Alone...in the back of the bus.
A child asked his mother – what person is this
... the same, yet so different from me?
Those eyes shined like fire, she shared with her sire
exactly as I will tell thee:
“The back of the bus – is really the front
A place where the angels do tend,
The gateway to heaven - it opens forever
– When the girl in the back is your friend."
A football team captain, class president was he
Not bad - for a boy from the back,
No gender to hinder – his race made him tender
His future looked sharp as a tack.
Fast-forward a score - add a few years
Now comes dishonor and shock,
For under all that - a transsexual female
– Complete with her closets and frocks.
What might Lincoln do – if he saw his son now
Would he offer a pillow as rack?
Never mind those who died - to crush such deep scars
His world – just screamed: “please use the back”.
He’d been there before, he knew this terrain
But somehow it felt extra low,
You know the difference – he understood too…
– He’d never been forced - there to go.
He grasped for support – none he could find
A cancer had taken his tree,
Cold hearted in anger, he cried to the heavens
“No angels avail there for me?”
A head bowed in sorrow – a heart filled with shame
Gravity tugging at knees,
From deep in his soul, he tasted that spirit
– And suddenly there was a “she”.
He cried as she held him, dabbing mascara
Clearing those eyes filled with foam,
She smiled at her baby – and said only these words
– "I knew you could find your way home".
This poem, it was started – one year ago
The words somehow lost in the midst,
It took SCC – one thousand good sisters
For me to discover its gist.
It’s really quite simple, His son made it clear
A camel and eye to be free,
Today he might mention, the back of the bus
– The best way to walk - with Thee.
going home 4/22/03
I hesitated to include this entry in my public journal for a couple of reasons. One, it's a very painful account reconstructed from my personal journal: simply rewriting it caused me to shed another bucket of tears after I was certain my body could lose no more. I know some of you worry when you read about my bad moments. This one's the worst - or best: depending upon your perspective. Two, I didn't want a certain person to feel this event had anything to do with them: it didn't - not even remotely. This was a volcano that was going to eventually erupt. It could've just as easily happened during my next work-trip. It's about my life - not anyone in it.
I include this record for a couple of important reasons. For anyone contemplating gender transition and relishing that euphoric feeling of finally becoming "you" - know this path is fraught with dangers and often not filled with pleasure. It's lonely & usually isolating. Two, I want others presently on my path to know they're not alone when they reach moments of utter despair.
We all have them: present company obviously included....
excerpt reconstructed from my personal journal - dated 4/21/03
...here I am in fucking San Diego and all I want to do is simply "go home". What's my problem? I no longer have a home to go to: it's all packed up into some sort of modular existence I've come to know as "my life". What kind of life is that for a 40+ year-old individual with some degree of success? You tell me?
Home...that word always sounds so simple when we have one to "go to". A home, a job, a family...many people treat those words like a ball-and chain versus crucial components of their existence. Can't begin to tell you the number of tranny's that bemoan their families - pisses me off. "Well whose fault is that, sweetie?" I'd trade all that I own for one brief additional visit - with mine.
Funny...came to San Diego thinking I'd discovered a home "for my heart". Met a wonderful person headed in the same direction. Alas, we're on decidedly different paths. That's so typical for me - guess that's why it didn't affect me much.
Home...it's all I can think about right now. I'm not a good traveler - at least not when I'm alone. I function best in my routines: those rituals I call my life. I'm safer there. Get me away from them too long? I'm left with too much time to more seriously consider all that I am, and not. Never got on west coast-time during this trip: arose each AM around 4:00 & spent my mornings thinking. Turned out, I probably thought a bit too much.
Know what I think of when I consider the word home? The home of my grandparents - that pillar of family love that stood for generations - now gone...in the hands of some farming entrepreneur. My home where I grew up? Gone. My home in Atlanta? Packed-up. My home in my mother's arms. Buried - along with so many other arms I love: arms I called home.
I was flying home today to something...but it's not "home". Awaiting me there - is a week's worth of problems. Remember that trepidation we all felt on Sunday night during our high school years when a test & a quiz awaited our Monday AM? Recollect that depression from the ending of a weekend? I'm sure there's a clinical name for it - it always felt dismal to me. That's how I felt.
I realized I didn't want to "fly" home - I wanted to "go" home. But how could I go home - when there's no place to "go" to? It then occurred to me I "had" a home of which to go - via death. I could "see" my grandmother at some entrance, looked like a dirt road. Her arms were open - beckoning me home to my family - to all those loving arms I once called "home". A place where I'd be "me" - be beautiful - as I was loved, forever.
The logic seemed strong - that made this fearful, in retrospect. I "live" in the left - both in thought & lifestyle. Put them together - my course tends to become rigid - difficult to alter. I now felt trance-like - knew what I must do. Strangely, I didn't shed a single tear - was neither remorseful or fearful. Pulled the sheets & pillows from the hotel beds - made a place for myself upon the floor - my cradle - to "go" home. This was all very unplanned and that was very unlike me. Decided to slit my wrists - was a bit concerned. Heard of a number of people that tried that - "failed". I think I heard that blood can clot - takes a good bit of time "alone" for everything to work out. Was slightly frustrated I didn't bring my laptop where I could've easily "hopped on-line" & confirmed or denied my suspicions. Another problem? Only had one item available with a sharp enough "blade" - my pocketknife - feared I'd lose control with this single instrument.
Put my plan into action. Went to the hotel rooftop and the breakfast buffet - all butter knives. Trekked to 7-11 across the street - acquired a second knife, a pack of razors for "insurance" & a cup of coffee. Called my ride to the airport - told them I'd made other plans - no reason to "pick me up". Called the front desk - arranged to stay another day - but told them to cancel room service - I needed sleep. Chained the room door for additional security. Considered "Princess" - knew who'd care for her - and that she'd be "ok". Thought of my possessions...my "estate". Could be better organized for "this" - but decided fuck it - I could just as easily have crashed during my "flight" home and those remaining would face the same challenges sorting things out. Tried writing a detailed "note" to leave behind - only words I could muster? "I'm going home" - signed Renee - even included a "smiley face" below my name. Decided to check phone messages - make certain to deal with any issues that might cause someone to "track" me before my time was up - before I'd gone home. God, I was so pragmatic in my actions - that scares me "now".
Anyway...my dear friend and future roommate had left me a pair of messages on Friday & Saturday. In the process of retrieving them through the weekend - I'd failed to delete the most recent. His voice was loud & booming - playful. But his final words were my saving grace. - "Get your ass back to Atlanta - and then come home, damnit".
Tears streaked down my face. My brief taste of logic had been tested - and destroyed. Broke down into sobs - humiliated by all I'd become. Somehow crawled into the shower - holding "myself" like a straight-jacket constructed from my own arms - wailing as I hit the tub floor, water trickling over my shaking body. Funny - I "quieted myself" - for fear I'd attract attention from another guest or the housekeeping staff - still wasn't 100% sure I wasn't going through with my original plan to "go home".
Pulled myself from the shower - didn't bother to towel off. Grabbed my cell phone again - listened to John's words - "come home". Hugged the phone - fell asleep in my planned cradle of my new life - awoke about 30 minutes later. No logic remained to my initial plan. Decided to fly home - versus "go" home. Canceled my extended stay - accepted a few calls from friends - but kept my prior agendas to myself. Ended up confessing my actions to Darleen - she helped me though my shame & tears...
I'm ashamed of what almost happened yesterday. I'm now more aware of how fragile I am at this moment. I'm back to focusing on the most fundamental of feelings - the most solid of support. I'm wary of any "place" - any "one" I don't know is a stalwart in my life. It's not much of a life at times - but it's what I have. I intend to build upon it.
I often wonder why I'm the one still "above ground" when I consider all those graves. Dying is natural - birth is a wonder. Living? It can be a real bitch at times. Why am I the one that's still "here"? I could go insane considering that. There must be a reason... I've survived too many "close calls" for there not to be.
I'm home now - in Atlanta...safe & sound. Played with & hugged on "Princess" - read the snail mail - reviewed the electronic media - prepared for my "tough" week. I'd prefer not to fret over this little nightmare for another moment. So..."Kevin" - "Tammy", etc. etc...please - don't start "calling" me today - checking on me - it's over. I did not include this entry to reflect upon it with friends. Besides - I had to cancel my cell phone - having 'lost" it - and I think I'm going to just get a new number. My home phone goes on "answer only" this week in prep for my move. I'll update my close friends with my new "numbers" soon. ((hugs))
That's funny - probably the strangest part of of this whole trip "home"? When I first arrived back in Atlanta - stopped off to smoke a cigarette...called in for messages via my cell. Guess what? I "lost" that damn phone - suppose I left it in the smoking "room". The instrument that saved my life - slipped from it, only hours later.
Did that mean something? I've no clue. Honestly - I'm through "thinking" about life and all its damn hidden meanings & mysteries - I'm just 'gonna try living it for awhile.
Works for me...
a "good" bad night 7-30-02
"You know what?"
Let's not mince words...."Fuck you!"
There - I feel better already.
If you're a reader that's taking estrogen & have ever been stood-up for a date after spending two hours getting ready, you already know exactly where this journal entry is going...
I was in a somewhat celebratory mood due to a long awaited accomplishment from a work-related project. Alas, nobody from my usual clan was available to celebrate with me. Thus, I decided to take a chance and meet a guy whom I'd been corresponding with on-line. Honestly, I was pretty excited about meeting him and worked extra hard to look my best.
At first, I waited 30 minutes before finally being seated at the restaurant. You know the drill....I'm sorry "Miss Hostess of the Mostest" - but my party hasn't yet arrived. Then - I waited another 30 minutes to order food out of courtesy. Finally - I embraced the fact I'd be eating & celebrating alone - so I had at it.
That hurt - more than I wanted to admit. I developed playful conversations with people sitting adjacent to me to take the edge off. I even confessed my dilemma and laughed at myself and my life a bit. However, upon becoming fully nourished and retrieving my car from the valet, I became overwhelmed by a rush of emotions.
The girl in my heart was hurt. The lady in my head was embarrassed. The DRAG Queen in my spirit was ready to go "make a scene" and take absolutely no prisoners. *Laugh*. However, the woman - in my soul? She just wanted to cry.
Alas, the woman won out.
I pulled over to a fairly safe-looking yet secluded location and shed some heart-felt tears in order to release that pain from deep inside my chest. (Not that I can afford to lose even a speck of anything in that department).
Upon re-collecting myself, I checked myself in the rearview mirror & simply had to laugh at the natural disaster staring back at me. Sixty-minutes of concentrated effort creating bedroom eyes now reduced to rubble befitting of a rape crisis victim. Thank God for my experience as a can-do DRAG Queen. She reworked the river of mascara and eyeliner into sort of a "Jean Harlow on-crack" look that would work for the balance of my evening.
I pointed my car in the direction of "Joe's" for a zesty slice of key lime & soothing cup of coffee in a defiant effort to not let some loser get the best of me.
I had a fun time there: made some new friends & wore-out my cell phone battery garnering support and psychological analysis from cronies around the USA as I officially regrouped.
Alas, this - is the life of a transsexual.
Know what's the scariest part?
I still love...my life. *Smile*