Friends

“A bond of trust 
Has been abused 
Something of value 
May be lost 
Give up your job 
Squander your cash – be rash 
Just hold on to your friends “   – HOLD ON TO YOUR FRIENDS by MORRISSEY

Friendship is one of the most important things to me.  For me, friends always take the front seat, that way I always have their back.  I will stick up for a friend through thick and thin.  I will always be available for them (though if I am asleep, it is a little rougher to reach me).

I have gone through a few jobs, and through each of those a friend has emerged as the bright part of that time spent.  My first “real” job was at a grocery store in high school. Here I met my first good friend, Tom.  We were Carry Outs (remember those?).  We would work together and were always bummed if we didn’t share the same shift. If we came in an hour apart, whichever one of us got off first would wait around for that hour for the other to break free. We always watched out for each other.  With several trips to Indianapolis, we didn’t always seem to have cash at the same time, so we took turns buying whatever.  Sometimes an album.  Sometimes a movie.  Sometimes, just lunch.  We had several things in common from music to movies.  This friendship also led to a whole other group of friends that made Super8 movies.  Though this particular friend would never accept the Jenn side of me, he is still a tried and true friend.  Actually, he might accept Jenn, but I won’t know until transition is closer to actually happening.  Despite his faults, he is a good friend.

Hold on to your friends….

I have another good friend that came from one of the worst work experiences I have ever encountered.  I have written about him before.  The Best Guy friend I have.  Jeff is one in whom I have not confided, but will, quite soon.  He is the one guy friend that I am scared to death of losing.  We were there for each other, both hating the little company for which we worked.  Work trips were the norm, so we would take that time to bitch and moan about the company and make each other crack up laughing.  He’s the kind of friend who would do anything for you, and you would do anything for him.  A gentle giant (he’s 6’5″). We have so many interests in common that it’s kind of scary.  Actually, we have a lot of things in common, in life and in goals.  I’m sure he will still be around when I come out to him.  He’s that kind of guy.

Hold on to your friends…..

Rounding up my three guy friends is one that I managed at a pretty decent job.  Justin was my 2nd hire and we became friends almost immediately.  Another Smiths fan, we clicked right away.  He is a musician (far better than he thinks he is) who could actually “make it” on an indie label.  A soft-spoken guy that immediately garners the attention of anyone around him, without even trying.  You are drawn to him like a moth to a flame.  When he found out about Jenn (through a coworker who was not as cool as I thought she was) he embraced and accepted me with no questions.  We had another (distant) coworker in another office who transitioned (before he knew about me).  He just couldn’t wrap his head around changing sexes and questioned the mental capacity of said coworker.  But he didn’t judge or stay on that path, he researched and learned more about Gender Identity. I think this also helped in his acceptance of me.  At any rate, you know a friend is good when they try to learn about new things and try to understand where you are headed.

“There are more than enough 
To fight and oppose 
Why waste good time 
Fighting the people you like 
Who will fall defending your name 
Oh, don’t feel so ashamed 
To have friends “

I have friends that will stick up for me through thick and thin, just as I will for them.  The female friends I have seem to be among the strongest people I have ever met, yet still fragile and beautiful.

Sarah (establisher of this fine blog and one whom you have heard much about) is 2600 miles away, but seems like she is next door.  We talk, text, email, post, etc…  Another friend met through a job.  Kind of like any serious relationship, a friend like this just happens. You aren’t looking for that kind of a bond, but before you know it, it’s there. Of course, Star Wars was a first connection, but from there we learned so much more about each other.  One of the best friendships ever forged, it almost became like a romance, only not really.  It’s an intimacy that is nurtured as you each begin to allow layers fall to the floor and expose what is hiding beneath.  Through her, I met Heather, another great friend, who also worked at the university and is also now in California.

Rachel, whom I’ve mentioned before, was the first stranger I really opened up to.  Once that veil had been raised, we became instant friends.  She was so awesome to me in the beginning, when I was taking my first steps into a larger world.  She held my hand and led me through the discomfort of being terminally shy.  Still a wallflower, though not as bad, she was so instrumental in cracking open that shell that hid me from the world.

Cheryl is a great reconnection.  Again, she has been mentioned before but is such an important person in my life.  Through our reconnecting, we have discovered so much more about each other than I ever thought possible.  The first time we went out, after getting reacquainted, we sat and talked until 3am, neither of us realizing it was that late. The only reason we knew was the phone call from my wife, concerned I wasn’t home yet since I am rarely out past midnight or 1, when I do go out.  She is an artist extraordinaire  and a very important friend.

My oldest friend (not in age) is Kelly.  We worked at the library together, though in different buildings.  She was there to see me begin embracing the light of change.  She was the first friend I successfully came out to.  An incredible friend that would do anything for you and you would do anything for.  She watched as I went from denial to acceptance.  We went form differences and mis-spoken words to friends and allies.  I was honored to be asked to choose and read a poem at a ceremony for her and her partner. She, too, is in California (I really need to be there).  Though it has been over 15 years since we have seen one another, we keep in touch.  Facebook is an amazing network that has allowed a connection to stay in place.  One of my greatest memories is going to see Melissa Etheridge with Kelly and Christy. A great show, but even greater company.

The friends I have made in my adult life mean more to me than they can possibly imagine. When I am in my darkest place, their light guides me back to the surface.  Sometimes they call, just knowing I need them.  Other times just the thought of their company pulls me out of the murky waters of depression, with a new smile on my face.  HOLD ON TO YOUR FRIENDS.

“Hold on to your friends 
Hold on to your friends 
Resist – or move on 
Be mad, be rash 
Smoke and explode 
Sell all of your clothes 
Just bear in mind : 
Oh, there just might come a time 
When you need some friends”

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About Jennifer

She grew up in an Indiana town Had a good-lookin' mama who never was around But she grew up tall and she grew up right With them Indiana boys on them Indiana nights Well, there are partial truths above. Being from Indiana, I did grow up in an Indiana town. I did not have a good lookin mama, but she was always around.'I did not grow up tall, but I suppose I grew up right. I spent lots of time with Indiana boys on Indiana nights. It's because I was one. Still am in some ways. Certainly not in others. My transitional journey has begun. Goodbye to my male self and hello to this wonderfully feminine world in which I was meant to live. At the age of 45, I am beginning my true journey to self and home.
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One Response to Friends

  1. bronzegirl says:

    Again, I am touched and truly appreciate your words, and “discovering” who we are together has meant so much to me!! “Hold on to your Friends” is one of my fav Moz songs!!
    “If they dare touch a hair on your head I’ll fight to the last breath….for the good life is out there somewhere…”

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