It truly is an amazing thing when life’s experiences take us on a journey which starts out as tempestuous and turbulent but which ends up in an amazing place. Even more amazing is that in the travels of our journey, we come to learn something of ourselves, and of others, and they of us. In the end, it leaves both others and myself touched in some magical way. This is a short tale of coming through that journey and realizing, in looking back, just how far it has come.
It was a very surprising and unexpected twist to our evening recently as Joanne and I enjoyed our night out for dinner. We learned as we were about to settle up our bill for the evening, that one of the guys at the bar had picked up our tab. This is the second time and the second guy who has done this. Understand that they know that my spouse and I are in a very committed relationship with each other and understand that the word has pretty much spread that I am not a natal woman... so they all do know about me. What I find truly to be the illuminating part is that none of this matters in the context of the camaraderie and atmosphere which pervades the place. Apparently our essence as people and....perhaps.... some of the goodies I bake and bring in for the holidays help as well. Still, it's nice to be told we are missed when we are not there one week and that we are thought of when we're away.
On this one particular evening, I was thinking back to that first time two years ago when I stepped foot into this "local's domain" and saw that priceless look given to me. It was the look one might see in an old western film where some out-of-town stranger walks into the saloon, excepting that this cowboy was a cowgirl. I’m quite sure I was being read and I recall the moment and the evening distinctly as there was a sudden pall of silence in the room as we alighted from the top of the stairs. We moseyed our way past the huddled male masses perched at the bar to find a free chair at the far end of the bar. I remembered surveying the bearded and mustached, flannel wearing gentlemen who donned John Deere and Harley hats and accoutrements at the bar and said to myself, "Holy Crap... I'm gonna die!".
It has been over 2 years since that first day and, interestingly, through association one by one by one, the ice has been broken and new friends have been made over the course of time. I attribute so much to a sincerity of character and a genuineness I maintain and which is readily apparent and perceived by others. That first day was a day where I know, being less passable as I was then, that I was “outed” immediately and became the talk of the establishment that evening. Jumping ahead to the present today, I can say that I truly feel very blessed that I, and my dear spouse, are considered now to be a cogent and inseparable part of the atmosphere, the camaraderie and the friendship there. That day where I thought I would be attacked verbally or physically for who I am became a day where I have heard told to me by these same individuals that they would defend me if anyone gave me or us a hard time. That is totally awesome in my book and makes me feel good to be known first and foremost for a person who has intelligence, wit, integrity and compassion before being known for the gender I live much of my life in.
The value of a person cannot be weighed simply by any one aspect or component of their life, but rather must be the sum of everything unique to who they are. I’m so happy that there are many who still allow for a person’s true character and true colors to shine through. It means more to me than anyone could ever possibly know.