Feels Like The First Time.

Of course that is a title of a great Foreigner song and it’s what Madonna describes within the context of Like A Virgin. But this has nothing to do with either of those songs or topics.

I attended my first ever Trans support group last night, and went out afterwards. If you know me, and unless you are linking this from my Facebook page you probably don’t, you know I am an extreme introvert, as well as being a self healer.

I attended through the invitation of a new friend that just happened to like a comment I posted on some topic, on some mutual friend’s page. I generally don’t just accept requests, because I like to research the person and see if I am going to suddenly have spread leg photos on my page. But as I quickly glanced at her profile, I decided to accept. Within about 20 minutes, there was a message thanking me for accepting. And personally thanking, not that “thanks 4 the add”.

So I messaged back….and we struck up a FB conversation, which then passed over to texting, again, I never give out my number, but I did. For the first time. It was nice.

Alas, I digest. So I went to my first support group, ever. Never went to AA, though maybe I should have in college (but I quit cold turkey—and not meaning just that drink). I was never involved in any kind of support group. I wanted to attend the LGB meetings on my college campus, but I was not allowed. It was JUST those three letters. No T, no Q. So I built my own support group throughout my life, by the friends that I chose. A couple fell by the wayside, but most everyone stayed intact. My “Army Of Supporters” as I referred to them as I began to transition. By the way, I miss you all, and always will.

So back to my first ever meeting. Have you noticed how easily I stray from the path of the topic at hand? It’s like walking on a trail and then seeing this really wonderful animal, or flower, and suddenly you are far off the trail, you get lost in the beauty of the thing that made you stray, and then you realize it’s like The Hobbit (the BOOK, not the movie) and you find yourself surrounded by giant spiders as you fumble for your ring of invisibility. I usually wish I was invisible, until I feel like I am.

But this was not the case at last night’s group. I sat down, wrote my name on a tag and looked around the room. An eclectic array of people, all trying to make sense of where they are in the journey, talking about this problem or that, this triumph or that milestone. Or just making an angry statement about labels. So I did what I do best. I observed. I listened. And to my amazement, I chimed in.

They asked what we would tell someone outside the community, to give them something to help educate/understand. My thought was that most importantly, those outside the community realize that we just ARE. We are still who we were and we are who we are. We will become who we will be. I think I was able to show that to people who knew me before transitioning, and I really hope I am the same person. I feel as though I am.

And then I followed that up by saying I transitioned VERY publicly at Target, in a small Indiana town (this was greeted with smile for two reasons which I will tell momentarily). I told how I was greeted very positively in this small city, with no bad experiences, though I knew there were points it could have gone bad, but the people stayed classy until they walked away or out of the building. Then there were the kids. By the time I left Target, everything was cool, but in that phase leading up to transitioning, and the first few weeks after, kids would loudly ask, “Are you a boy or a girl?” to which I would reply, simply, “Yes”. Sometimes this was met with a desire for more information. Sometimes with a “Oh, cool” and sometimes with a bewildered look because I did not give them an answer that fell on the side of acknowledgement.

When I gave this answer, laughter erupted from a couple people, huge smiles from others and statements like, “That is a really good reply.” It’s times like that, that really make me happy to be who I am. Not the recognition, I couldn’t really care less about that, but it’s that warm feeling of being genuine (which I always am) and truly saying something that is accepted and entertaining at the same time. I like to make people smile and laugh, yet lack the ability to crawl onto a stage and provide even 10 minutes of entertainment to anyone. I simply don’t think I’m that funny or entertaining. Just genuine.

After the group I was approached by one of the moderators, and she thanked me for speaking at my first meeting. She was even more surprised that this was my first time. (I’m glad they were gentle). Upon speaking to several others, the other smile and “Ohhhhh” at the Indiana revelation was revealed. Two people in the group were from Indiana. One from up around Gary and the other just southeast of Indianapolis.

As we all wrangled ourselves outside, we made plans to go to Denny’s. There many of us who went, where we continued for another 2 hours of conversations ranging from meds to amazing music. So, as you get in a wide range of people, not everyone is “passable”, whatever that really means, so there ended up being some mocking by a couple morons at a table. I didn’t hear anything, mainly because I don’t keep an ear out for it, and secondly, 31 years of RUSH concerts and blasting the music in headphones and cars, has taken its toll on my hearing.

So we wrapped it all up and went our separate ways. I came away from this first meeting of support that I have never needed, taking a few things with me. I got to know my friend who invited me, much better. I got to meet new people and actually speak with them. I realized that I can overcome this barrier of doubt I have, where I do not believe I have anything of worth to say. I also learned, that just maybe, I do need support. There are things I do not know and things I have yet to do. Electrolysis or laser hair removal. Name change regulations….loads of things I need to know about and friends that need to be made.

At the young age of 47, I realize there are still things to learn and that I can actually contribute to things that I usually just observe.

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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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My Year, 2013

I have said for a while, “This will be my year!”  It never really was.

January 1, 2013, I once again made the same proclamation.  I shouted it out.  “2013 is going to be MY YEAR!!”

It was quite a year.

January, wasn’t overly full of anything other than the beginnings of talk about divorce.  It was really going to happen.  Sooner rather than later.

February saw my first visit to an endocrinologist and I began taking hormones.  On February 12th, during my morning Tuesday Entertainment New Release announcements, I told the rest of the morning crew what was about to happen, and that I would be starting work as Jen, beginning February 18th.  It was met with warm wishes from all of my coworkers, except one.  I had many come up to me afterwards and congratulate me, wish me luck and express heartfelt compassion, knowing they could never comprehend what I was about to undertake.  I spent the rest of the week getting to as many people as I could to let them know. February 23rd  brought about the celebration of our 22nd year of marriage, knowing there would be no celebration of a 23rd in 2014.

March brought continued surprise and congratulations from guests in the store that suddenly found Jen working Electronics and Entertainment.  March, only a week after celebrating 22 years, had us driving to the lawyer’s office to discuss the terms of our non-contested divorce.  We were very calm and divided the bills evenly.  My wife was very calm, I was bawling my eyes out when we left.  The beginning of March also found a complete intervention of fate as my wife had an accident that ended up with her upside down in a ditch.  As I was driving to meet her, she called and said everything was fine and I didn’t need to come out there.  The police were assisting and it was all over.  The fate in this was the officer becoming very smitten with my wife.  He ended up calling her to pick up some personal items she had left.  He had been calling for a while and he finally asked her out.  He wanted to go out with her on……

April 1st was the day that our divorce was finalized.  We were no longer married and my now ex-wife had gone out with the officer (I told her it was a little rude to go out ON the day of our divorce) a couple days before.  

May is when my parents would always return from Florida.  I had been discussing with my therapist, possibly giving them one visit with Steve, and then it would be Jen from then on.  I had sent them some photos to prepare them and decided that it would be Jen from the moment they returned.  May also had one of the most bizarre turns of fate for me.  My amazing friend Sarah got hold of me to let me now their office was expanding and I needed to send my resume to her.  I scoffed.  This was a company in Fremont, California who was expanding their L.A. office.  As a favor, and to make myself feel sort of good, I sent it in.  A week later I got an email about interviews and that they would give me a phone interview.  I took the interview to make myself feel good.  I hadn’t been looking, I hadn’t been in a job within my major for four years and I knew this would put a shine in my eye.  So I interviewed on a Wednesday.  I was at lunch the following Friday (as in two days later) and was offered the job.  I had until Monday to let them know.  It took me that long to decide.  It was going to be a HUGE undertaking and I would be leaving everything I knew and loved behind.   With roughly one hour to go before the cutoff, and after many texts from Sarah letting me know that they were asking for some sort of answer, I told them, “Yes”.

June was filled with trying to put everything in order and prepare to move from Muncie, Indiana to Glendale, California.  It also had me celebrating my 47th birthday.  My ex and I had continued to live together.  She would stay with me Monday-Wednesday and I was being pushed further and further out of her new life of friends which was cool, but found me a little lost.  The last couple weeks of June, she decided to include me in more of her life and stay at the house more.

July 4th, my friend Jeff and I pulled out of Muncie for the two and a half day trek to California.  Saying goodbye to my daughter is the most gut wrenching thing I have ever had to do in my life.  I said goodbye to her, my parents and my ex.  I said goodbye to our home of the past three years and the city I had called home for 47 years.  I was headed to the complete unknown.  I arrived in Glendale on the 6th and began work on the 8th.  No down time to settle, just immediately hit the ground running.

August-October found me trying to find myself.  I was unable to grasp the new job.  I missed my family and friends.  I was not having fun.  I wanted to go back.  I felt stuck.  Trapped.  I was in a lease for a year and could not leave my friends Sarah and Dee in the lurch.  I couldn’t throw Sarah under the bus with work.  I cried daily but the weekends were worse.  I didn’t go out.  I didn’t see anything but work and my bedroom.  I couldn’t answer tech support questions, which was my job, and I hated it.  I also despise talking on the phone, so maybe a phone support job wasn’t the best idea.  By the end of October, I had hit bottom.  My main thought was that life for everyone would be easier if I were in an accident and no longer in the picture.  Not that I would cause the accident, or harm myself (I really like myself although I don’t always get along with me), but if I were no longer around, then everyone could continue with their lives and I wouldn’t hurt any longer.  Then it changed.  I had a total meltdown and then began…

November.  After the meltdown everything began to change.  I began to catch on at work.  Not 100%, but far more than I had known up till then.  I began to venture out into the world.  I still did not meet anyone, but I was out and about, slowly growing the radius of my adventure circle.  I was also invited to a family Thanksgiving gathering by a friend and his wife.  I had known Troy for about 7 years, but we had never met.  We were bloggers on Star Wars.com and also part of a group of Star Wars collectors who found things for others, and not jack up the price.  I went, had a great time and was then invited to their Christmas celebration.

December.  Much of the same.  Growing horizons and I began attending a United Universalist church in Pasadena.  Met John Michael Higgins and not once during our conversation did I mention I loved his work and found him hilarious.  Inside I was freaking out, but I was cool on the outside.  I attended the Christmas gathering and was once again welcomed with open arms to their family.  We hired two amazing people at work so there is interaction where there was none.  On December 30 I will have my first endocrinologist appointment in California.  My hormones will expire from Indiana and this will pick up with no lag.  I had to meet with a doctor and then a psychiatrist before being approved for a specialist.  

So as I near the end of 2013, it truly was MY YEAR.  Not in all the ways that I had pictured it, but it obviously went where it should.  It cost me more than I could have ever imagined and has rewarded me with so much.  I still miss my family and friends terribly.  I still cry from time to time (like while writing this).  I still miss my daughter more than words can describe.  We had that special bond of parent and close friends.  It worked for us and I miss that.  My exwife and I are in contact quite often.  She has moved on and is dating.  She has moved in with her boyfriend.  I told her I cannot imagine ever finding anyone.  She was and is the love of my life.  Not that I won’t find companionship in friends somewhere down the road, maybe 2014, but it isn’t even something I am looking at.

I hope that 2013 found good things happening in your life.  Perhaps 2014 will be YOUR YEAR.  Know that you can make it.  Know that you can be instrumental in how it shapes and forms by taking risks.  Be courageous enough to accept the unknown and strong enough to hold on through the spots where you were sue you made the biggest mistake of your life.  We are individuals, all writing our own stories, living our own lives and traveling our own journeys.  If I could do what I have done and made it to this point, then any one of you can do it as well.

2014 IS OUR YEAR!

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The Power Of One

Many things come to mind with the number one;

The giant foam fingers.  Songs with “One” in the title.  Being second to none.

What is interesting about this solitary number is the power that comes with it.

One person can ruin an amazing day.  One wrong word can derail a pleasant conversation.  Can lead to a historic feud.  One word can destroy a nation, a leader, a life.  One wrong move can land you in a world of trouble.  One bad experience can cost a business a loyal customer.

One of my favorite quotes from a modern show is, “We are all just one bad decision away from shitting in a bucket.”–Matt Paxton (Hoarders)

One can also be just as positive.

One person can make a terrible day fantastic.  One kind word can change a nasty disposition.  One good turn deserves another.  One act of kindness can begin the pattern that spreads through many people.  One genuine smile. One caring person.  One bright memory is all it takes to build upon.  One good deed.  

One moment in time.

One blog entry……finished.

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Everybody Knows

Everybody Knows.  Besides being one hell of a song by Mr. Leonard Cohen, this is basically how I live my life.  I live it as if everybody knows.

Before transitioning, I just figured any time I was presenting as Jen, everybody knew.  I assumed that it was that apparent that I was not a girl.  As I walked about, having left the house feeling amazingly good about myself and my appearance, I would end up in a public place and immediately would think, “Everybody Knows”.

This made it particularly difficult so many times.  Many times I would park the car, usually a bit further away then normal, so I could have that added bit of time before face to face contact with people.  Perhaps this long walk added to the thoughts, but so many times I would almost make it to the doors of someplace, only to feign forgetting something, and walk rapidly back to the car.

There were times that I would be walking through campus, feeling every eye on me, because everybody knew.  They had to know. So I would find myself taking all sorts of bizarre and sudden turns, just to avoid one person walking toward me on the sidewalk.I knew that they knew.

This also kept me from meeting up with friends from time to time.  Perhaps I was out as Jen, and I possibly would get a text or call for lunch, but I wouldn’t go.  Although everybody knows, my closest friends didn’t, some did, some did not.  I would be asked to go out by those who did know, but I didn’t want to be in a place where everybody would know, and I may have to defend myself.  So I would turn down these invitations.  I turned them down because I knew, no matter where we went, everybody would know and stare and talk.  And possibly confront me.  I knew this would happen.

As the past few years progressed, my confidence grew and my friends could see it.  They knew.  It was ok.

Since transitioning, I assume everybody knows.  Some may say this is bad, but I view it as good. If everybody knows, then I don’t have to hide or pretend anything.  I can just be myself.  I can be my normal, everyday, quirky self. But this does lead to some issues.

A couple months ago, I was up north and ended up having lunch with an amazing person in our company. As we talked, the conversation moved to my moving here, leaving family behind and my daughter.  Then here came the question, “Where is the father in all of this?”  My answer took a second, because I was caught off guard by that question.  “Well,” I said, “I am her father.”  The look of delighted surprise and admiration made my day and showed me that maybe not everybody knows.

A couple weeks ago myself and two coworkers were being flown up to our north office. The flight was booked and confirmed with all three of us on the same confirmation. The lady that I had lunch with a couple months prior booked the flight and felt terrible that our names were all together and that they would see my given name, not my chosen name. I told her it was quote ok and that I always assume everybody knows. She told me I should never think that way because she would have never known had we not had our lunch.

But I live my life as though Everybody Knows just the same. As I said, if everybody knows, then I do not have to pretend. I can just be me.

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Healing Leads To Confidence. Confidence Leads To Strength. Strength Leads To Voice

No, not some long lost quote from Yoda.

It’s been a long healing road.  When you find the love of your life, spend almost a year working up the courage to say something to them, another year dating and finally marrying them.  Add to that an amazing daughter and a 22 year life of pure devotion and then that all comes crashing down, because of your choice to be yourself, well, it takes its toll.  Believe me.

At first it was a complete shock and a feeling of disbelief.  Two people, so in love, simply do not walk away from such a relationship.  But when your spouse marries a guy, that guy ends up not being much of a guy, but still a guy, and then decides to follow a path that has been there since birth, to become a woman, well, you can’t blame her, can you.  You are either attracted to the same gender or you aren’t.  The love can remain, but the attraction does need to be there.  So we called it quits.  We split the bills and walked away. 

Next came a time of healing.  A slow progression toward the inevitable.  But we were still roommates, so for three days week, I had my best friend living with me.  This was a doable setup.  Then came the offer of a job in California.  I had lost a good job, four years prior, when our Governor decided to pull all of the funding for PBS in Indiana.  A couple years later I managed to land a part time seasonal job at Target, a job that soon became as close to full time as you can get.  I liked working at Target.  I liked my coworkers, my Target family.  Then came the job offer mentioned above.  I fought an internal struggle for a full four days before accepting.

It was exciting but then began wear on me.  I was going to be leaving my friends, my daughter, my ex-wife, basically, I would be leaving everyone and everything. I grew stronger, in between those bouts of pure collapse.  Between the huge valleys of sorrow came peaks of excitement.  Then I moved.

The move utterly destroyed me.  The job was not at all what I had thought.  I did not know how to do what was asked of me. I tried to learn, but could not grasp it.  I began to sink.  I was trying to live, but without my wife and daughter, I didn’t really want to.  Not that I would do anything (I like myself WAY too much for that), but I began to think that if I were in an accident, everyone could just go on.  I couldn’t disappoint my employers if I were dead.  I couldn’t disappoint my great friend who got me the job, if I were dead.  Things would just be easier for everyone, myself included, if I were no longer part of this earth, or more exact, to be more a part of the earth than ever.

Daily bouts of breaking down in tears.  Daily texts with my ex-wife, as she was moving on, dating a man that treated her well (and was a man).  She was happy and her need to hear from me, or initiate the contact grew more and more scarce.  Her voice was growing.  She was growing, apart from me, and without me.

That took more adjusting on my part.  If you were to listen to me on the phones, you would know I had no idea what I was talking about, even if I did happen to know.  Customers jumped on that and would often call me out or ask to be transferred back into the support queue, because waiting another 40 minutes was better than listening to this quiet voice trying to tell them how to do something.

Back around the beginning October, I hit my lowest point.  A complete meltdown of everything being so overwhelming.  IF I were to ever be at a point of doing away with myself, that would have been the night.  As the negativity rushed in, I could feel it swelling.  It culminated in a ten minute total meltdown.  Then……it was over.  It was done.  I had come out on the other side.

I could feel this sense of empowerment.  I could feel this inner strength.  I was still not up to par on the phones, but the calls I was taking, I could answer.  A couple weeks ago, one of our leads was in the office and I could hear him making comments about how loud I was.  When I turned and confronted him with this, he was smiling and laughing, saying that I was more confident, so I was vocalizing now, rather than using the sheepish tone of no confidence.  That made me feel good.

Then I realized, he was right.  I was getting louder.  I was getting more confident.  I was finding my voice.

I’ve said before how much I hate my voice, deep as it is.  But today I found myself echoing through a call and I no longer heard that masculine voice.  Sure, it’s still deeper than most women’s vocal range, but there are a few deeper than mine.  Out of 16 calls today, I was called sir just once.  This usually happens well over 50% of the time.

I can see my life changing once again.  I send a daily greeting to my ex, wishing her a great day.  Sometimes I get a reply, sometimes not, and I am ok with either.  We talk once every couple weeks and we laugh.  I hadn’t laughed, naturally, since I moved in July. I faked it.  I’ve grown very adept at faking things through my life. It’s a survival technique and ability.  I do not, however, fake things with those I care about.  Those feelings and emotions are quite real and true.

So as I grow in self awareness, healing confidence and ability, I find my voice.  I find my voice in work, in life and in persona.  I’ve got a hell of a long way to go, but I am making strides and my voice is shining through.

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A Change of Perspective

Growing up, I was a scrawny kid.  I weighed 90 pounds until high school, where I ballooned to an amazing 125.

I was below average in height, at 5’5″, which increased to 5’7″, even though I was never supposed to reach a height of more than 5’2″.

 

My feet were small enough that it was quite tough to find shoes. Size 7.5 in men’s was tough to come by. And if you had a 27″ waist you were thought to be 6′ or better. If you had a 32″ inseam, then you were expected to weigh at least 200. So I would buy my stuff in the youth section. After a while, I realized that I was the perfect size for how I felt, and would buy what I could in the juniors section. This was not easy in the days of Jordache and others, wanting to embellish every article of clothing. But I managed.

Throughout high school, I became obsessed with trying to gain weight. Perhaps it was the non stop mocking coming from both genders while wearing a “muscle” concert shirt. Perhaps it was trying as best I could to fit in with the jocks in school, knowing that no girl paid any attention to the skinny kid, though I ended up garnering more attention for my breakdancing skills and play performance than I ever thought possible. People thought I was funny. I was quick witted, semi-intelligent, outspoken when pushed and known to be the worst student of math in the history of Yorktown.

Despite my size, I also became known for stepping in the middle of jocks who were picking on the few kids smaller than myself, and even the football coach mistreating a special needs student (telling him he should use Nair so he wouldn’t have to shave his face). I remember telling the student, Dave, not to ever try that and then directing my attention back to the coach and cussing him out in front of his “boys” and the rest of the student body that was by the gym.

I drank my home brewed protein shakes, which were really nothing more than every sugar product you could lay hands on, stirred into milk. I took weight lifting, and ended up with my best bench press of 300 pounds, my best squat at 350. I maintained a record breaking 2″ vertical jump but could fly through the peg climb. And at the end of it all, I still weighed in at 125. It just so happened that the coach from the aforementioned cussing out was my weightlifting teacher. Oddly enough, he didn’t retaliate against that stand. I was sure he would. Perhaps I gained a miniscule amount of respect from him, maybe I just wasn’t worth the effort.

As time progressed, and I knew where my life would end up, not necessarily permanently as I thought I could maintain a part time lifestyle with the woman I loved more deeply than life, I began to love my shortcomings. I was below average height and weight for a guy, but for a girl I was slightly above average in height, which some find awesome, while still being on the short side of models who would tower over me at 6′. I was thin, so that leant itself perfectly as well, since clothing lines are made for those women with no hips, though that is starting to change. At 5’7″ I can easily blend in, or to be taken a bit more notice of, I’ll wear heels.

Everything I hated about myself while growing up is now the perfect fit for who I am becoming. Well, except for that damned voice that dropped overnight in 7th grade. Much better but far from where I want it.

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