Life is a Journey - Make sure you get the right roadmap to the universe

I'm quite sure I picked up the wrong one on my way out the door....

Monday, May 26, 2014

Journeying Down the Yellow Brick Road

I feel an ebb and a flow in transition, as if eddies, currents and rip-tides which oft seem to drag me out to open water far from shore seem to then wash me back in towards shore..... not the shore from which I entered the water to be sure, but a new and wondrous beach to find myself upon nonetheless. Although I oft long for the beach I commanded many years ago, I cannot deny the wonder, the beauty and the amazing experiences of the sands I now find myself upon and exploring anew.

There is no celebratory stance nor would I consider this an enviable position. I simply find that I am,and I exist apparently, within this realm. It is a place "natural" to my being yet without personal attendance worthy of fanfare or celebration. It just is me. The "pink sunglasses", temporal as they were, are gone. The reality of this station in life is simply here and the decisions commensurate with how to move ahead, finding a path which serves to preserve the most and impact negatively in the least becomes the ultimate challenge.  I find my music choices on this blog site as well to be as a shadow of how I feel.  There is at once and together a sense of simultaneous joy and of sadness, one of both motion and movement, tension and tenacity, empowerment and powerlessness.... all plainly heard yet thinly veiled within the notes of carefully chosen "pieces".

Looking at the "pieces" of my life from the outside, this station I am securing in my life all seems like a magnanimous thing. The complexities, however, conspire to create a maze that seems to always be unfolding just always slightly ahead of me... as if adding new corridors, passages and the attendant choices in the process.  This is a tortuous maze of both peril and pleasure, of things lost and of things found.  Being a woman is no better than in being a man but there is, for me, one realm which fits for me and for which affirmation comes from those who find me in this place.  It is unique, perhaps, that this congruity exists.... but it is what I am finding to actually BE.

I have been on Estrogen now for about 3 months.  It's just the beginning really, but it is like worlds apart from my life before.  For the record, it is NOT a magical pill of happiness.  It is not that panacea to cure the world's ailments nor even all of one person's..... mine.  But what it is affording to me are gifts which can not be perceived by men who have lived their entire life as men, nor by women who have lived their entire life as women.  It is a gift which is only seen by those who know what it is to suddenly have it.   It is the curse by which many natally born women would wish to be gone.  But it is unique in experience and it is an experience which I can only describe in summation of it's many small nuances which combine together to create a new and very wonderful fabric of life emerging.

It is not for the physical characteristics which one would first suspect materially would be obtained as a matter of being on Estrogen (E) that I hope most to attain.  It is something much different, more subtle and yet so much more.  It is the seemingly intangible forces which pervade and bind within and which are more amazing in their superlative subtlety than anything else.  The things I have found and which have been documented by others were aspects for which I held concerted skepticism.  And as surely as we are each different, we shall surely find our own experiences to be similar in ways, yet different in others.

What I have found.......

Emotions.  It is as if after 48 years of life on this Earth, I am finding emotions more easily surfacing.  I find that I can cry more easily and even have combinations of laughter and of crying at the same time....something which was so bizarre yet of which I was told could happen.  I love that I can feel more, sense more, and connect more with others, especially the women both trans and natal in my life in ways that I realize now men could never have with each other.
 

My sense of smell appears to be heightened to specific odors and it intrigues me how much more subtly vibrant this sense has become.  My spouse has noticed what she could only describe as a musky male scent as being gone.  It was something she found pleasing and was saddened to know it now gone.  By the other token, I now am able to sense that generally musky male scent where before I could not.  The intensity of course varies but it is generally an omnipresent sense now.....one I never had.

Mentally, there is a sense of greater focus and a similar sense of a less scatter-brained mind that always seemed to be in "high gear".  It is a calming and centered feel that I can almost not describe in its intangible tangibility, yet it exists and others have noticed that I appear to be more calm, more relaxed and more centered and at peace than I ever was before.

I find it easier to be able to communicate in ways that allow for multiple tangents and tracks of conversation within the same conversation.  I call it multi-threading of my processor in my brain. To those who are computer engineers or similar as I am, that term will be understandable as being able to process multiple thoughts, conversations and ideas at once.  I'm really liking whatever re-wiring appears to be going on upstairs.

I do understand that it is extremely well known that women use many thousands of more words within their vocabulary than do men on average.  The attribution of this is given to brain development based upon hormonal washing by either male or female hormones in the human brain.  It is not a scientific observation but a casual one for me that I am finding, that my linguistic abilities feel heightened and it may be necessary, at some juncture, for me to go back and assess my earlier writings for any pattern changes which may have ensued as a positive relation to these observations.


In summation, what I can say is that the feeling I have now, on E, is akin to the old 1939 Wizard of Oz movie.   In that movie, as you may recall, it begins as a Black and White film and, when Dorothy finds herself suddenly in the Land of Oz,  becomes a world of vibrant color.  It is as if I saw my own world in muted grays and pale pastels and if now I am seeing it for the first time in vibrant colors.

 Of course there are other changes happening to and the most obvious of those is some redistribution of fat in all the relevant places cogent to the average woman's.  As well too, there is a softening of the skin with a drier consistency and a generally more translucent appearance.  My naturally curly head of hair, thick already, seems to be growing noticeably thicker.  Muscle mass has decreased and although I have always been active in my outdoor activities involving my legs (where little change has occurred), my arms have lost a significant amount of muscle mass in a relatively short period of time.  As such, I have begun exercises such as push-ups and chin-ups in order to counteract this.  I personally enjoy my limber ability to bound around with the strength of an 18 years old as I approach the half century mark in life and do NOT want to lose that spirit, spryness and stamina.  I just have to work a little harder now to maintain it.

I occasionally look back and wish I sometimes was back in Kansas with the stability which Dorothy had in her safe little world, but this is an amazing new world in colors that are vibrant and alluring.  The adventure of the life unfolding as I make new friends and build new bonds along my path of unknown adventure is incredible.  Opportunities, both personal and professional are opening up before me.  It is an adventure of a lifetime down my own yellow brick road, which although fraught with hardships both socially, relationally and logistically is one amazing tale of adventure which I would never, ever now wish to give up.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Walking the Tightrope: Choices and Challenges

After an emotionally charged week for me spending time with my dad, it's nice to be back up north, to be able to open the blinds and see the mountains and the flowing river, to hear the song of birds and the.... joyful experience of seeing a skunk busily digging up our yard as we pulled into the driveway near midnight last night.  Yes, there was the incident at the restaurant the other day (earlier post) that had me feeling like I wanted to shrink into my seat, but there is so much more emotion and so many more memories that spring to life once again, like ghosts from the past, when I am down there.  I'll write about all of that some day, but it's too hard right now.  The story of growing up is not a happy one and I still harbor conflicted emotions of both love and of disgust.... but at least I know in my heart that I am doing the right thing for him.

My dad saw me leave with J to head back up north.  I was back in my normal regalia and he encountered me as my true self as I was lugging bags and computers across the driveway and loading them into the car.  He doesn't say much and he seems to go quiet in or near my presence but he says nothing because he still needs me.  No one else in the family is around for him at this point and I know, no matter how hard this is, no matter how vivid some of these memories from younger days seem to tangibly become when in places I resided as a youth, I still know I am doing the best and being the best person I can be, even if it is at the cost seemingly sometimes of my own sanity for what daemons I must revisit each time I am there.

It was still a good evening as J helped me out of my funk.  A stop at Sephora to play in the "Makeup Romper Room" is always a good fix for that.  The cashier was so wonderfully accommodating, spending way more time with us than she had with others we saw her helping.  I think it's always the "realness" and my attempt to connect with people on a personal level first and foremost that does it.  I'm pretty sure that's the recipe I use.  She ended up throwing in half the store in volumes of free samples and kits of just about everything, but then again, I went in for a couple of items and came out deciding personally that I couldn't decide to not buy a host of other unique items that intrigued me as well.  A wrap to the evening together with a nice hearty salad and a (yes, just one, Margarita)  was the ticket to an end of, for me, of a stressful week for us both.  Me with my dad, and for J, with her mom.

Dealing with an often belligerent parent by trying to cross-dress back to at least look like his "son" for him and failing at that, having my dad loudly "out" me to half the restaurant, seeing the visualizations of the bad memories growing up re-materializing through tangibly being in that house, listening to my father's self-convincing oratory of what wonderful family times we had, visualized and imagined in his own mind as they are, knowing what my mom dealt with through all of this and seeing how the family broke up into a million scattered pieces and with each bearing their own signature scars to carry forward into the disrepair and dysfunctionality of their own lives....sometimes it's just too much to handle...... but I'm doing the best I can and trying to be the best person I can without losing my own sanity in the process.   It is a tenable balancing act but, as we know, all tightropes are connected on both ends and I see that there is an end and an outcome that has to one day be reached.

Adding this all in to the emotional stress of the "husband who is now a ghost" creates a dynamic interplay that, even when I am back home, often yields very little rest for the mind by day and in dreams at night.  Often we look at another's life from the outside, and see from a cursory standpoint, the station a person has arrived at in their lives and look at them, and judge them without thoughts much deeper than the mirage of water on a dessert's horizon.  For truly, what may seem oft to be our choices in life are so much more than simply a choice.  Choices of being honest to ourselves or hiding for the sake of others at the expense of the core of our own selves.

Transgender or not, we face choices in how we live our lives, each of us.  The sacrifices we make to hold a family together at the risk of losing ourselves in the process;  The choices we make to be there for those who have, in an earlier life, wielded a world of subjugation, pain and unnecessary emotional and physical abuse; The choice to try to console a person whose final years on Earth are clouded by the conflict of the reality of the chaos they caused within a family and who struggle to accept that what has passed can not be undone.  Perhaps I am the person who is attempting to be the one tangible person left in his now isolated world, whose self-imprisoned walls of darkness are slowly collapsing inward on him.  And as I think about it, I wonder.... who really knows what I and we are going through personally within each of us?  Who is there for each of us but our own selves?  Who atones for the choices we make but our consciences, whose silent cacophonies resound within the space of our individual minds?

It's true, as well, for everyone... that we are the only ones who must face the fallout of our own choices, our own daemons, our own mistakes.  We have only the opportunity to temper these challenges by doing the best we can, making the best choices we could at the time, in being as honest and and sensitive to others that we could be in light of choices that had to be made.  The choices are often ones that we know full well that we had to make, or risk the very stark reality that we may not be alive to be here to write our stories and to share them as I do today.  And I take comfort only in knowing that perhaps, unlike my dad, I am attempting to be honest, sensitive and mindful of those around me in my life while trying to balance my own.  My one hope is that in the end when, unlike my dad, in his final years, that I may come to find a sense of peace in knowing I did the best I could.



After a stressful and emotional week at many levels, it's so nice to be able to have a quiet dinner and to head back north

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Are You Calling Me a Lady?

Bit of a Panic Attack tonight (serious understatement).

 My dad took me out to eat for my birthday this evening. As a premise to this story, he knows about my status being transgender and has, on occasion, been witness to see the real me. Generally I present as my guy mode for him because it's really too much for him at his age to handle. That's my gift back to him when I come down to visit. So, tonight I wore my blue jeans, my blue polo shirt and no makeup what-so-ever. In theory, I sported a very generic non-female-gender look.

I figured I was pulling off guy mode pretty well as I interacted initially with the restaurant staff. When the waiter came over to take our orders, he asked my dad (calling him sir) and then me, much to my surprise - ma'am! Well, it it all seemed to go over my dad's attention unnoticed, at least initially and thankfully! Then, J, who is visiting with her mom, called me on my cellphone just as the waiter returned once more. While I was chatting with her, I clearly heard from my other phone-free ear, the waiter ask him what the 'lady' would like for dessert. Oh my goodness. It was at that point that my dad let loose and started proclaiming in a tone loud enough for half the restaurant to hear, that "he is my son!".

What I didn't expect to happen at this point, was the waiter, assuming my dad was somewhat senile, continue to use the female pronouns. I've never had anything like this happen before where someone was passively re-asserting my identity over my father's quite vocal proclamation and continuing on with miss and ma'am. At one point in this faux-pas debacle, the waiter just looked at me, still while I was clutching my phone for dear life like a diversionary tactical pacifier, and just gave me this look as if my dad was losing it. A tempered panic attack set in as half the restaurant within earshot took notice at this point. I simply smiled back at the waiter and gave him a little "wink" as my dad said "son" one more time.

Truthfully, the waiter's affirming body language towards me was just the opposite of that displayed towards my dad. In that very moment, I was completely self aware of the fact that the waiter was innately impressed that my dad was simply losing his mental marbles. This seemed to be confirmed as he continued to ma'am me quietly and more directly for the rest of the time at dinner. I can't believe the weird stories happening in life... they just seem so bizarrely surreal as to beg a reality check...... but there they are just playing out around me as two separate people affirm two opposing views of my identity while I simply watch and listen like I am a spectator of my own life. I swear I couldn't make this stuff up even if I tried... it's too ludicrous to be real.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Finding the Strength to Make the Journey


Making the journey of life as a transgender individual is a more difficult, more trying test of strength than can be imagined by most. Even as a transgender individual, feeling I may have had the omniscience of personal perspective,  I still find myself surprised by my own inability to fully visualize and forecast all of the stormy seas that have been encountered in the odyssey of my own life.  It is as unique as are the journeys each of us must travel individually as well.  The choice of a transgender individual, faced with the prospect of hiding who they are truly as they have known for their entire lives, is only a choice as to hiding and playing their lives as an act for others, or in coming to live honestly to themselves.   Unfortunately, we still find many in our society who would rather we spend a lifetime in a role of acting as a character in our own play that is our life, rather than to "thine own self be true".


Hiding who we are is only but an act and a persona we assume in the play of our own lives.  Eventually, the role can no longer be played and the truth is ultimately revealed.  Of course on the relevant Star Trek episode, "The Conscience of the King", at least Kirk gets to make out with a woman 22 minutes into the show in the process.

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The message from this is one that is likely the most important, the most paramount of any.  It is the message that we are not alone and that we, none of us, should consider to bear the burdens and trials of our own lives alone.  As Odysseus faced each of his own trials and learned through his own mistakes in Homer's Odyssey, so must we each face our own and gather strength from victory over adversity.

It's so helpful, certainly to me personally, to realize and reaffirm that we are not alone in our personal strife and in the spirals of our occasional bouts with depression.  In being able to share, at some tangible level with the the journeys of others,  I find myself able to achieve my own "push" towards a positive direction which in turn helps me to have the strength to push myself forward and beyond.  I hope that others can find their own sense of inner strength to achieve the same.

We all need friends to help "push us in the right direction".  I'm not really sure STELLA is a good example however.....

The highly polarized dichotomy of having to deal with being transgender is truly more complex, more emotionally challenging then I could ever have envisioned. As others have experienced, so too have I found the ability to be on top of the world suddenly, and in an instant, find it as a free-fall into the deepest pit of self despair and sadness. I can see now how some discover this to be more than they can bear in their continued existence on this planet and so make the choice to discontinue it.  It is, apparently, common for many of us to feel this way.

Diversions, hobbies, and activities can all help but they do not necessarily quell the inner daemons which oft still pervade deeply within us. Strength comes from what we can do to support each other as much as it comes from the strength we must each find within ourselves. We learn so much too, about ourselves, through our interactions within others lives and in relating them to our own. Going this journey alone, isolated within ourselves, is but a simple recipe to a more menacing personal demise. Life is an amazing flight, if only we can see our way through the clouds and beyond to bluer skies.



Being able to face the daemons of our own lives... depression, death, loss and sadness...is something we each must find a way to overcome.  These negative energies are always at our personal door, ready to confront and overpower us....   ...if we are not strong.

It amazes me to no end how much our society places emphasis on the ephemerality and transitory nature of the shell of the human body...especially some of the negative reactions when we attempt to change it to suit our inner soul. In the end, if the physicality is what others deem to define us, then can we ever, with those who hold that mindset, ever truly hope to aspire to be known for our spirituality and recognized by our soul?

Adversity will always exist in our lives.  There will always be those who do not live up to their own sense of what is perfectly acceptable and what is not to them.  If each person in this world would take the time to analyze and to deal with the problems which pervade their own lives rather than in taking that energy and denigrating others in their own, we would find our journeys through this world much easier as a result.

When a robot determines that they are, themselves, perfect.... and then decides to judge others fates based upon their own ideology of that self-assumed perfection, you know you have trouble on-board the Star Ship Enterprise.  The same thing applies in society here on Earth.



The journey of our own lives is a lifetime mission, to seek out and explore new personal goals and realms and to boldly go where others have not gone before.

And when times get tough, please reach for your friends.... and not for this stuff....
....unless you are trying to get some evil aliens off your ship....

Rule Number One:  Getting evil aliens drunk to subdue them: Always make sure to have enough Scotch.  Just don't plan to pilot your ship of life while drinking the stuff.  Trying to navigate the universe of your life is tough enough as it is. Do that SOBER!


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( Can it scarcely be true then, that I really could learn and relate so many things in my own life from "Star Trek" and the 1956 movie, "Forbidden Planet"? )

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Question of Goals and Intents: There Was no 'Master' Plan.....

An intriguing question today from a comment left by someone.  A question that provoked a moment of thought.... a moment of repose, and a reflective response.....

Question:

What were your realistic (transitioning) goals? I mean like in stages, weekly monthly as you decided and knew who you were? Where did you build your confidence from?
  
Response:

That's a very intriguing question. I've always seen myself as a person who has set goals and timelines in life, both scholastic as well as professional. Interestingly, my perspective of my goals was like a goal marker constantly moving forward as I would approach it. Not so much a goal was it for me to reach, each time, what seemed to become an interim point..... more-so it was a case of "let me try this and observe the results" along each step of the way. For myself, I needed to understand how my feelings for each step taken, assess the attendant emotions and reactions as well as to ascertain how the social interaction and return affirmation appeared to happen in return. The self confidence seemed to be a natural result of feeling at once comfortable with my own sense of self and in the positive affirmation received in return.  I honestly had not wanted to come as far as I have, since in so doing, there is an inherent "shaking up" of one's world as it exists. Much to my surprise, the shaking up has not been quite so much as I had initially suspected, possibly owing to some careful planning and a LOT of communication with those closest to me in my life. With respect to that latter remark, I would have to emphasize that for those closest to me in my life, I wanted them to be alright with whatever steps I would take. Because I was not fortunate enough to begin a transition as early as I recall of about age 8 or 9, I had many more attachments, responsibilities and a variety of other factors which were the accumulation of a lifetime to consider carefully. I know many others who have transitioned very quickly and many were successful in so doing while others were not....with some even detransitioning and moving back into a state of utter depression. I see this as a longer road for me and I don't see transition at this point as a state to be reached, nor a goal. I see (and this goes for most everyone of us in our lives - transgender or not) that transition is simply a continual process by which we personally, emotionally and spiritually grow as people....and as we do so, we all find, ultimately, that we HAVE changed. By the time we are in the latter years of our lives, I am sure that most of us can look back and undeniably state that we are not the same people we were when we were, say, 18. It just so happens that my own growth and my own coming to a personal sense of self awareness just happens to include something, shall we say, just a little bit unique! :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Day at the New Hampshire State House

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 is not a day I shall soon forget.  The day was spent at the New Hampshire State House in Concord, New Hampshire assisting in efforts to bring about an educational understanding of what it means to be transgender and the challenges we face within the state as a result.  Our ultimate goal is one which will help to illuminate the necessity of creating state legislation which would make it illegal to deny someone who is gender variant, the opportunity for housing or public accommodation or to fire someone from their job.  The basic human rights which we all, as citizens, are entitled to, should not be denied simply because of personal or perhaps religious claims of bias

It was a huge day for me, a week prior, when I was asked by a prominent staff attorney from GLAD in Boston to do this, I almost thought to say "no!".  You see, as a male, I was always very shy and introverted.  Public engagements were a very difficult proposition for me.  Panic attacks were the norm on a daily basis for many years and decades.  I was told, however, that I was well respected as a potential for this endeavor and that I had an innate ability to assist in making this a pivotal event.  At the time I did not quite realize the potential magnitude of the outcome this in fact would be, but I was soon to reap, in many ways, what lay beyond that only partially perceived horizon.

There was little sleep for me on the night before as I imagined, in a semi-lucid state somewhere between wakefulness and sleep, any number of possible failures and fears on my own part.  A bedraggled look awaited me when I awoke in the morning after a toss and tumble night.  Trying to put myself and my wardrobe together was a matter of rote recall but I still found I had my mind on segments of the speech I would give.  Granted it was nothing technical and certainly an easily fluid free speech that would pose little problem; but it was the unknown of who I was delivering this to, my audience, that had me a bit unnerved.  The whole concept of a staunch and stuffy senate which one might envision if they ever watched C-SPAN or any other of the political access channels came to mind.  I could envision scolding looks of stern faces in visual disagreement to my verbal outpouring.

I was so worked up over this that after J styled my hair, I left the house hurriedly without even putting my “cleavage assistants" in.  Granted that there seems to be enough filling out at this point to only now half warrant their use, it was still a first for me to forget them.  Interestingly, I never noticed my omission until about half way through my drive home when looking down quizzically and then feeling what "wasn't" all there...thinking about it for a moment, and ultimately realizing it was totally unimportant. Still, there was a chuckle at the fact that I had been discombobulated enough that morning to have forgotten what I would have considered an essential aspect to my "Some assembly required" routine.

Arriving at the state house in Concord, NH, I found myself circling the capitol twice hoping to find some street parking nearby.  I was wearing comfortable low pumps but still didn't want to have to traipse multiple blocks in them.  It seemed that when a space opened up, the car ahead of me would suddenly grab the spot.  It quickly became obvious that we were a caravan of cars all circling on the same reconnaissance mission to find a home for our vehicles.

Finally giving up in my circulatory pattern orbiting the capitol building, I grabbed a space in the garage, which turned out also to be completely full on all 4 levels.  While making a U-turn at the top level, I began to ask myself what the population of this small city was because it seemed to me to be more like downtown Boston than sleepy New Hampshire.  On my way back down through the levels, luck looked upon me as a vehicle pulled out allowing me to grab their space.  I alighted from the car and clip-clopped my way the two and a half blocks to the Legislative Building and entered. 

The room was not quite so intimidating as I had imagined and was simply two very large conference rooms (with the dividers rolled back) to present to large U-shaped geometric layouts.  We were early, as it turned out, as the sessions were still on-going and bills were still being voted upon.  This gave enough time for us to introduce ourselves to each other and to indulge in some delicious sandwiches which were provided for the occasion as a timely enticement.  We would be speaking to the democratic representatives for the state which, from what I was made to understand, already had a relatively positive stance in regards to the transgender related challenges in the state.  That certainly put me at ease as well.

When the sessions broke, about 30 or so representatives filtered into our combined dual conference room and took up residence.  I noted quite a number NOT coming in but rather moving past in the hallway beyond.  The lunchtime break, as it turned out, allowed for a host of other possible venues for the representatives to "elect" to join and so some decided to attend elsewhere.  The immediate surmise of this realization was that our audience was here because they wanted to be and not by obligation.  this, on the one hand, set my mind at ease but as well too, made me feel that we had a lot of work to do if we were to obtain an audience with those who might challenge our viewpoints and perspectives.  I was assured that there would be future "educational outreach" session to attempt to create those connections, but for now, this was turning out to be a much more benign encounter.... and very welcome for my first foray into this field.

I'm not going to drop names here, since I don't have express permission to do so, but the first opening remarks and introduction were provided by the hosting Democratic Rep who had organized and was facilitating this event.  His introduction led nicely into the stories which followed.  We heard from several professionals both 'male to female' as well as 'female to male' regarding various highlights, concerns and simple affirmations regarding their own journeys.  One of the most poignant and touching presentations was made by a father and his adopted daughter, who was transitioning at age 13 towards womanhood.  She was so independently capable of painting not only her own story in vivid detail, but had such a command of her own thoughts and her own self-omniscience and self-awareness, that it touched my heart to listen to each word she spoke.  Her father was able to elegantly evoke a complementary dialog which was distinctly separate from her daughters but which provided a holistic and fluid complete picture.  Each of us, as speakers, painted a portion of a larger yet ultimately interconnected picture which, at a base core level, depicted us all as humans.... humans like anyone else who desired the same things out of life and maintained the same aspirations as we all do sharing this planet as humans.

My own turn to speak was relatively early on and, standing to address the audience, I provided what I thought would be an enlightening story of my own journey of discovery and my own coming of self-awareness.  I never jumped into the political realm of asking or declaring what was needed and what I or "we" as transgender individuals required within the human rights realm.   Instead, the delivery was an impassioned speech filled with allegories which I hoped and felt others who were not transgender might relate to on a very core and basal level.  The metaphoric references worked extraordinarily well as I would find out later in my outtakes in one-on-one discussions.  In front of the audience, I immediately felt comfortable orating a strikingly passionate and gesticulative outpouring of emotive words and imagery. It was no less than wonderful to feel the power of being able to captivate and hold the attention of a large, dignified and highly intelligent audience that in all respects held me in a humble and auspicious respect for them.

The tail end of the presentation was where we had a wrap-up and tie in of our personal journeys along with a short treatise made of the greater scope for needed legislation.  This summation was provided by a staff attorney from GLAD in Boston who did an excellent job in relating our stories to that of the greater realm of challenges we all, as transgender individuals face.  A question and answer period followed where we were asked intelligent and non-invasive questions.  Informational packets were provided to all attendees which illustrated additional life-stories, a handout of terminology, a glossary of definitions and information relevant to the GLAD Organization in general.

The BEST take-away from the entire day, however, was the personal one-on-ones which transpired after the event.  I'm glad I fed the meter for a few extra hours of time because even as I was donning my pocketbook, I was met by one representative after another who seemed eager to talk with everyone and, surprisingly, with me.  The outpouring of affirmation was simply amazing and each hand shook was met with either great endearment or quickly replaced by a wonderfully warm hug.  Apparently, as they told me, my story touched them in how it was presented.  The generally consensual commentary was that I was a a highly intelligent and articulate woman who had great ability to draw in an audience in an affirming way.

Well, it didn't stop there.  A number of representatives corralled me and introduced themselves and offered a welcoming gesture for me to consider running for an open seat for representative in Grafton County.  It would be an understatement to say that I was floored that they not only would consider me, but more-so that they wouldn't take a "NO" for an answer.  To be honest, it would be an amazing opportunity to be able to work within this realm and to utilize it as a transitory platform to introduce myself as a transgender person to many of the state representatives who have never met one and who may have ill-conceived prejudices as a result.  Unfortunately, the time commitment would be well beyond what I could reasonably supply, owing to the fact that I still hold a full-time 40 hour per week job that pays the bills.

In closing, I did relate that I would make myself available on a consultancy basis should they find need of whatever services or assistance could be offered  There were quite a few email addresses exchanged and the promises that we would be back to entertain this arena again in the future.  It was amazing that even in working my way downstairs to the lobby, I was met by other representatives who had missed the chance to say hello and who wished to thank me for coming.  I will not soon forget today, for even if it was miniscule in the larger picture of what still needs to be accomplished, it gave me confidence in my own sense of self and skills, reaffirmed it through the glowing and positive remarks and embraces by so many others and gave me hope in humanity that there are those who really wish for us all to live in harmony, as altruistic as that may seemingly be.  One thing is for sure:  As Arnold Schwarzenegger would say, "I'll be back!"



In case anyone might be wondering what I decided to wear to this occasion, the link follows to the outfit:

https://flic.kr/p/jdabJY