Once a month on a Sunday morning I try and meet my cousin for breakfast. Generally the rule of thumb is that we try and choose someplace new and we alternate paying. This has been a nice way of staying in touch, getting caught up and having a little slice of family. This morning was our scheduled get together and we decided to meet up in Manchester NH at the Red Arrow Diner.
For those who may be unaware the Red Arrow is an old time style diner with bar stools and only 5 booths. The food is decent and inexpensive and the atmosphere is similar to a typical greasy spoon. The twist with the Red Arrow tend to be some of its patrons are that of the rich and famous. For instance Adam Sandler frequents this diner when he returns home for visits or whatnot.
Today in our general conversation Betty's questions turned to how I'd been doing with things. I explained that I'd had a couple of rough weeks personally but that tends to happen when I wear myself down. At one point she was curious and wondered how I'd known, after all she was born female and never had to deal with not understanding that internal struggle that transgender people have to go through.
Using my standard way of explaining I simply asked her what her favorite color was. Her response was Blue!! I then asked how she knew and it was something that she honestly couldn't answer, she just knew it was blue... exactly I responded.
While it is a very basic was of describing this so others can get a grasp the truth is that it goes far deeper than that. I am slowly realizing that it is not only deeper but is very different for each and every one of us. While we all seem to have very similar stories the way we see and approach who we are as individuals are very different, so how DO we know!
When I was young I wished I could fit in with the girls, play barbies, play house, go to a prom and at one point even in my marriage admitted to my wife that the biggest thing I'd felt I missed out on was the ability to have children. I know for most that may seem funny to hear but it was one of the things that always sat in the back of my mind. Well the closest thing I could have to what I wanted was to be a father. I may not have always been the best at that job, but I tried my best with what little knowledge I had.
FWIW I never did get a barbie doll, my life was relegated to "BigJim" and "Evil Knievel" You play the cards you are dealt I guess.
As I look back over the years of the how did I know question, I cannot pinpoint any one major thing other than just feeling out of place within myself. I knew I was different but I knew it had to be a secret so I just did my best to ignore it (unsuccessfully). There were times it was easier than others and I just moved through my life knowing I was different and feeling very tormented within my soul. The only thing I could easily point to when my wife asked me what I wanted was simply inner peace... whatever that may entail.
I never felt transition was an option or even possible, but I am slowly finding out what my key to inner peace may be. As I move through this journey I am starting to see for myself the differences in my thoughts as opposed to those of my male friends and is becoming clearer and clearer that I haven't been as loony as I'd thought I was for so many years, I was simply thinking in female way and becoming frustrated with the male response ..it all magically fell into place.
Last night looking through my TIVO I noticed Larry King Live ran a segment on Transgendered people. It became not only a platform to get more information out to the masses but a bit comical. While Larry does a service by being open enough to discuss the matter he does little to educate himself before he opens his mouth. At one point he even asked Susan Stanton if she stands when she pees in the ladies room ...
One of the guests he had on was a beautiful TG girl whose name was Jessica Lam. Jessica was well spoken and handled herself perfectly even having her 2 teenage boys by her side supporting her. In the course of her interview a tape was played to show a bit of Jessica's life, In this tape she exclaimed how when she was young she dreamed of being able to wear dresses and skirts and she the states, want to see what I wear now as she holds up a pair of jeans, that's me I told my wife.
In another part of the segment Larry was getting confused about the sexuality aspect of being TG. He naturally assumed that Jessica dated men and he was quite surprised to hear she dated women. So you're a lesbian he asked with an odd look on his face. She explained how some people cannot understand the full change if you continue to be with the same sex. She mentioned how her dad was perplexed and even asked, why would you get the surgery if only to have to use a strap-on later!! She went on the explain that when she would have relations with her wife at the time she would have to zone into feeling as though she was having lesbian relations to get any fulfillment from it. This was and has been something not only very basic to myself by my friend Annah as well. In order to be into the moment or get anything from it I would always have to be in a zone and often tried to put myself in a feminine role. If I wasn't able to do that, then it was just sex and nothing more to me with no personal fulfillment.
So while we all seem to have parallels within our lives we all seem to have our differences as well. But the bottom line is simply to be able to live our lives in peace.
Recently after feeling rundown and tired of dealing with my life and the GID I had a brief email conversation with my daughter. In the course of the conversation I mentioned my thoughts about just giving the whole thing up because I'm so tired of living it. Her response was not only touching but eye opening. She explained to me that while she will always love me she liked who I've become far more than who I was and that this was the right path for me. I have to admit it was pretty touching to hear, not only because it was a slap of reality but because I'd always thought Jess supported me because she loved me but had no true opinion on whether or not I was making a mistake.
Sometimes when the proof is in front of us we don't even see it for ourselves but it takes someone from the outside looking in to give us our dose of reality. I had a cry over it but it was well worth the feeling of being loved and cared about.
So, how do I know? I not only know it within my heart and head but I now know it within all my interactions and experiences that have gotten me to where I am, hopefully i am strong enough to learn even more.