One Year Ago Today, I Died. One Year Ago Today, I Was Born.

It seems a little odd to be one year old, yet have a full time job, share a rental with two wonderful friends and enjoy the scenery that is California.  But, that’s how it goes sometimes.

On February 18, 2013, I transitioned full time as Jen.  Steve ceased to exist.  He was still technically here, but in a very different form.

I remember that Monday morning very well.  I worked at 6am, at Target, and up until that day I crawled out of bed around 5—-ish, spent about 15 minutes getting ready, dragged myself to the car, drove the whole ten minutes to work and began my day.

This particular Monday, I awoke at 3:30 am.  Well, I guess you have to sleep to wake, but I got out of bed around 3:30 and grabbed the clothes I had already laid out.  My wife had already stopped staying at the house from Thursday to Monday, so I didn’t have to worry about waking her up. (silver lining?).  After a nice hot shower, I began to prep for the day.  I didn’t want to go overboard and I didn’t want to look like a guy, so I carefully addressed the pallet and began applying the paint.  I wondered if I could actually do this.

I went out to the garage and sat in the car for a while.  I was amazed this was happening.  So I got the thoughts gathered and drove to work.  I arrived at my normal 20 minutes early.  I sat in the car, eyes closed, taking very deep breaths and singing along to Time Stand Still and One Little Victory, by RUSH and Enjoy The Silence and Walking In My Shoes, by Depeche Mode.  Those four songs seemed to be the best way to prep.  Then the zombie walk began.

At about 10 till, everyone lumbers out of their cars and makes the trek to the doors.  I was met with smiles and normal conversation.  As I sat at my desk, prepping the day’s work (because it hadn’t arrived on Friday), one of my coworkers who was on vacation the week before, when I made the revelation, came over and we chit chatted a little about what was going on.  She said if I ever needed to talk about anything, she’d be there.  That made me feel great and put a little spring in my step.

As I walked through the store, passing employees I never really knew, though wished I had, I couldn’t help but wonder what they were thinking.  I wasn’t sure if they were accepting, tolerant or pissed.  I made my way back to my section and began to work.  Same as any other Monday morning.  Those around me addressed Jen, or forgot and said Steve, then apologized immediately.  I felt at ease and accepted by those I worked directly with.  Jokes began to spring up, asking if that no good guy that had the job before me had actually trained me well.  That if I made a mistake, I could blame that dork that trained me so poorly.  It felt right.

THEN….the lights kicked on and the store was opened.  It was a rather uneventful morning. And then I had my first guest.  Someone who had been a regular, and whom I had shared many a great conversation about books.  She asked where that Steve was, and then I stood up and looked her in the eyes.  Her eyes widened, he mouth fell open and her arms flew open.  I probably ducked thinking I was about to get clobbered, but I was given one of the most amazing hugs (paling in comparison to my Aunt Barbara’s hugs).  She let go and with tears in her eyes, said that she was so proud of me, and she hoped I would find happiness.  And then the gates opened and there were tons of people wanting tons of stuff all at once, so I was plunged into it feet first. There were odd looks, loud children asking “is that a boy or a girl?” (my voice was not yet exercised enough to be out of the deep bass that it had been since 7th grade).

One of my most beloved regular guests came in, having NO idea what was going on with me as she had been away for about three weeks.  When she was asking for help about a camera, she looked up and after a couple seconds, realized it was me.  Again with hugs and cheers, tears and the quite humorous question and response.  “….so are you going to, you know, go all the way?”  “yes”  “Ohhh, honey, that’s going to hurt.”

But I got through the day, unscathed.  Each day was easier than the previous, and life was pretty good.  Muncie had shown me that this sometimes backward town had some of the most amazing people in it.  People who realized I was still the same person that helped them for the past 16 months.  For the next four months it was business as usual, until I left for California.  It isn’t bad out here, that’s not what I meant, I just left everything familiar and safe.

So on this day, celebrating the day I died and the day I was born, I have decided that the next step is to make this the day I begin to LIVE.

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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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