Cherished

The amazing thing about our lives, is that they aren’t wholy our own. They zig zag and intersect with countless other lives on their own trajectory through the universe.

The neat thing, is that every single interaction means something, it’s enough to change our course even if slightly, and it sets us up for our next intersection until finally at the end of our life we end in the place that we were always supposed to.

I like to look at people in cars, scrambling to and through, running errands, taking kids to soccer practice, grocery shopping, or going to see a friend for the very last time,and I wonder about their lives, their first kiss, their first christmas, their first heart break, and I realize that the human experience has an infinite amount of combinations, but some how we always end up where we’re supposed to be.

Sometimes our final destination may not seem as nice as someone elses, but that destination has an affect on someone else, and it’s these affects that make humanity what it is. It’s a soup, full of ingredients, none more important than the other, yet all seem to be somewhat un fair.

A few of these times, these happenings, these intersections turn into much more then a wave and a smile, and we find ourselves making real friends, friends who affect us more than others, and have some sort of pull in every decision that we make from that moment on.

This week, in Chicago, as I followed through on a goal that would change my life, I met many such people. My caretaker Lisa, with a slight shake and soft hands, my Dr, a surgeon, who’s artistic vision would forever change how the world reacts to me, the nurses, drivers, even the pharmacyst at target who showed such compasion as I explained why the name on my ID didn’t quite match the vision before her.

But it’s one couple in particular, married for 4 years, Sarah from Italy, and Maya from the US, and to the untrained eye looked like any loving lesbian couple. However, Maya was transitioning, and like so many other spouces Sarah was transitioning along with her.

If it’s possible to crush on an entire couple, I’ve crushed on this one, and I can tell you we will remain great friends, from this moment on. You can feel when you meet someone, and you know that some day you’ll visit, and someday even you’ll share birthdays, celebrations, or any other life event.

No doubt Maya and Sarah, a match so obviously made in heaven, having met doing tango, oozing such affection toward each other, was such an inspiration.

Both full of grace, both full of life experiences, that you can’t help but realize you have so much to learn from them.

I hope some day Sarah, the college professor from Itally who loves to cook, and Maya the solar panel installation architect, will have children, and no doubt those children will be as beautiful and as loving as their parents.

To say I’m inspired is an understatement, and to say I feel blessed for having my life collide with theirs in such a chance happening, is simply to be honest with a vision of things more than our shallow self involved world.

I know that some day, when I’m at my final destination, Sarah, and Maya will have had their hands on the helm of the ship that is my life.

I’m better for knowing them, and I can only hope they feel the same. Thie couple from Vermont, this stylish, world travelled, and beautiful couple. And Now, they are my friends. I cherish them and I always will.

Standard

Northern Exposure

It’s snowing in Chicago.  It’s like a light fluttery show, but the flakes are huge.  Of course, for a southern girl, any snow is a big deal.  I like Chicago.  The people seem nice, and helpful, and there is such an ignorance of all things Texan.

I’m sitting in the hotel dining room, looking out the window, and I’m wearing a black hoodie with the word “Whatever” displayed across the front.  My face is bruised, bandaged, and I’m just a little high on painkillers.  All in all it’s a great time.

It’s my first day out of my hotel room in almost a week.  It feels really great, and I just needed to see that the world was still revolving around.

At this very moment outside of the window, I witnessed two snow plows drive by and with an awe that a kid might have the first time he’s at the zoo whinessing an elephant trumpeting his trunk, I’m simply in awe.

My dr has been by every day.  He’s fast at everything.  He speaks fast, he walks fast, his visit is even fast.  But, I really get the impression that he enjoys his work much like an artist who sculpts beauty from clay.  His sweet comments of honey, sweetheart, and sweetie all make me feel like I’m some dainty little flower, and whether he knows it or not, it goes a long way.

 

My care taker, a woman I paid to stay with me for the first 24 hours has long since gone, and returned to wash my hair and show me how to do the God awful massage that I must complete three times a day for thirty minutes each time.

Out of all the things I’ve done in this great endeavor to become physically how I see myself in my mind, the surgery around my face is the scariest and most impactful of all.  So many unknowns filled my head and I had this dreadful feeling as I left Houston that I would never return.

But, I will return, I’ll return looking different, and the last details of the old physical me will be erased, and I can finally move forward in confidence and grace.

Oh sure, I feel that I was making strides in those departments for a while.  Practice in voice, mannerisms, fitness, look, all come together to express an identity that many people have come to know as simply me.  But, I really think this final stroke of the brush will really bring it all home.  And from this moment on, I hope the last physical attributes of a body which i had at least a moderate distaste for will be gone.

I’ll always have that boy deep in side of me.  I don’t regret that, and I have pride in the man that I was.  But, now that I’ve seen my path, and I’m climbing higher on that mountain, it’s all making such sense, and the blessings I feel are almost overwhelming.

My flight to Chicago was uneventful, just a few second glances after showing my ID, but the professionals that the airline hires handled it like a champ.  The very first time flying first class spoiled me.  The hotel staff has been wonderful.  The car staff which seems to be run by Bulgarians, is pretty amazing to me.  My driver Kusco, organizes all the Bulgarian folk festivals and I look forward to at least trying to make the one in Chicago in the spring.

Even the target close to a mile a way, and not a bad walk, was a wonderful experience as i stocked up on groceries, clothes, and an oversized bag to carry it all back to the hotel.  I met a special person who went on and on about how he loved buying those canvas bags and after a short chat, I realized that God is everywhere and all will be ok.

It was 5:45 am on Tuesday when my driver dropped me off at the clinic where my face would forever be changed.  The staff was wonderful, and everything was explained in great detail.  The surgeon, nurse, and anesthesiologist all had their pep talk and game plan outline in the room with me standing there, and I surely appreciated it.

Soon, I was on the table, looking up at the lights, and as I felt the fuzziness over take me, I realized this was it.

The surgery turned out to be about 9 hours.  I had a broken nose which I hadn’t known about.  Surely, a result from years of football and rugby.  But it took a bit to fix.  I also bled a little as I was told.  All of this made for an exceptionally long surgery.

After the fuzziness the next thing I remember hearing was “She’s waking up” and sure enough there I was, tube still in my throat and the surgery was over.

 

Still under the effects of the anesthesia I remembered thinking that everyone was working in warp speed.  It was almost impossible for me to process the speed that people were moving and talking.  I simply focused on the light, took deep breaths, and finally the hose was removed.

With the nose work that I had done, the absolute worse part of recovery was the mucus and blood build up in my throat and in my lungs.  It was like having melted cheese stuffed into your mouth.  It felt as though I was drowning.

Stay calm I kept telling myself, but the pain wasn’t bad, and my breast surgery was much worse.

It was 11 pm when we got back to the hotel.  Such a long day.  And I was flat out exhausted.

Thank God for pain meds!!

On day 3 when Lisa, my caregiver came back to finally wash my hair, we had a great conversation.  I know that some of you who read this blog have had bad experiences with the church, and with that, it’s easy to make that experience about God,  but this entire trip has been nothing but God everywhere to me.

Lisa and I spoke and she told me how she had moved away from the church.  How their thoughts on transgender people, people who were her patients, were not accepted.  I told her my beliefs,  and how I think that no man speaks for God, and it’s so easy for me to see how everything is moving in the way it’s supposed to.  Sure I fight things, sure I’m unsure of what I should do, but the funny thing was she told me how her church is her motorcycle.  It’s when she feels closest to God.  At that moment it struck me.  My bicycle is the same way.  It’s me, it’s my mind, my soul, and God.  It really was amazing.

The rest of the time we were like friends at a slumber party.  She showed me how to do my massages, and when I got excited at hearing the fluids move, I told her it’s like the monkey in all of us.  It’s like popping paper, or grooming or popping a pimple, and I was so excited.  We died laughing.  I guess there is a little bit of monkey in all of us, and we all have that grooming in us.  It’s primal I guess.

Finally it was time for her to go.   The only person who stayed with me, my friend Lisa, and she promised she would check on me, and off she went.

 

Today a woman named Rina came to give me a massage that I’ve never had before.  It was a bit strange but I trust, and it involved inflatable bags around my legs, and some suction cups around my neck.  She’s a former patient of the Dr, and we had a great discussion about her path and also identity theft.  You just never know what people can tell you if you just take the time to listen.

Since then It’s been me and a fairly nice hotel room.  I’ve had a very little appetite, and I’m hoping that will drop some lbs, and when I get home and have my first pizza it won’t reset all of the starving I’ve done while I’m here.

Incase you wondered.  Pudding, apple sauce, and gatorade are all we need to live in life.

I miss Houston a lot now, and I can’t wait to get back.  I want desperately to be in my own home, but I know healing is important.  I want to be diligent in all that I do, and I want things to turn out as perfect as possible.

 

I’m going back up to my room now.  Maybe a nap, maybe some facebook.  Who knows.

Standard

Hidden Gifts

We fight so hard to fit into what people expect of us, and finally, we realize, that, which we fight so hard against, is actually a gift that only a few will ever know. It’s then, that we can be ourselves. Even if those around us will never understand that gift, it’s ours to live, suffer, and finally enjoy.

 

If you’ve ever climbed a hill, mountain, or even just a serious amount of flights of stairs, you know what each step is measured, small, and deliberate.  In the beginning we think, there is no way we can do it.  Even, an overwhelming feeling of why do it in the first place.

There are those around us, all with very vocal voices, and no shortage of opinions on why or how to even attempt such an endeavor, and many see no purpose in it whats so ever.

Even within ourselves this conflict is there.  How should we do it, why should we do it, and even, should we do it at all.

It’s a personal matter, a matter no one but ourselves will ever understand.  Even those who claim to feel the same can’t quite put their finger on the same feelings that we have within our heart.

When I was younger, and I realized I was different, I prayed with all my might to be normal.  I wanted so desperately to be like the others, and I wanted so desperately to make my parents proud.  Even to this day, that drive, that urge, that need to please my parents and even those who I’ve looked up to, is still there, and as strong as ever.

But soon we realize that even before we knew it our right foot has already made the step toward that hill, and the left is sure to follow.  After a time, as we climb, and as we pass different challenges along the way we realize that at this point, climbing to the top is the better choice than simply turning around and making the treacherous trip back down.

It’s an epiphany, it’s a realization of a gift, and it’s a moment in our life when we realize that Gods path for us becomes so very clear.

Sure some will say, we’re wrong, some will claim to speak for God, and some, with all of the confidence in the world will claim we are going against him, when we, in our heart, hear him speaking to us.

There was a man who was convicted of a murder of his wife.  He spend 20 years in prison and was on death row three times.  I watched this documentary with such horror and when the person asked him if he was angry about it all.

He, with all of his graciousness, replied, no.  To him it was a gift.  He explained that in his life he had been able to experience everything that life had to offer.  Pain, sadness, despair, joy, elation, the real human experience.  This man’s comments resonated with me and as I sat there, tears in my eyes, I realized that all of the suffering of being transgender goes hand in hand with all of the joy and it’s all a gift.  It’s a gift that I am thankful for and I can’t possibly express enough how blessed I feel to have it.

It’s difficult for us to see these gifts, it’s hard for us to accept, and in a world where “fair” seems to be thought of as some birth right, we tend to turn away from the gifts that God gives us.


So, here I am, I can see the summit,  I’ve slipped, fallen, rested, and even considered turning back completely,  but now when I look back, from this point on the mountain, I can see the entire path.  Not just at the base of the mountain, but the entire path that has led me here in all of it’s perfect balance.

And when I’m at the top, when I’m finally able to make this whole transition a thing in my past, I’ll be a better person for it, and I’ll know love and joy like I’ve never known before.

Our life isn’t what others decide for us, it’s not what others plan, and their disappointments are within them.  It’s us who has to listen, and it’s us who have to take that first step.

Listen to God, and step with the right, the left will follow, and after a while, I promise when you look back the view will be breathtaking.

Standard