Today is the last day of March, 2015. That’s a pretty easy one: you can look at any calendar, phone, or computer and see that right away. It’s a good thing, too, because these days it’s also nearly impossible to know from one day to the next what day it should be. I’m good with that, but not perfect.
Today is also the International Transgender Day of Visibility, the day that is meant to celebrate those of us who have chosen to live our lives as we needed them to be lived, and not pretend we are someone else–something I did most of my life. Believe me, getting to the point where I could stop pretending wasn’t the easiest thing in my life . . .
My own public coming out wasn’t something I spent a long time thinking about. I had already begun attending a few transgender support meetings through the winter of 2013/14, but by March of 2014, I was feeling the need to do more. By that time I’d been in and out of therapy for almost two years, but I felt that I wasn’t making any real progress toward being me.
That started changing on 29 March, 2014. On that day I drove home from Indiana to Harrisburg in some of the strangest weather I’d ever encountered. It started out cloudy, then started drizzling in eastern Indiana. I began seeing snow flurries in western Ohio, snow in central, and by the time I reach not-rocking Cleveland, it was snowing hard enough that only one lane of the three lane Ohio Turnpike was open. It stayed that way until I reached the Cuyahoga River valley, at which point everything turned to rain–
And stayed that way all through the gathering night as I drove through the mountains of Pennsylvania on the way to Harrisburg.
It was about eleven PM when I reached home, and I didn’t make it into bed until about half-past midnight. I was up because I was chatting with someone about writing, but as I went to bed my mind was on something else. Me.
When I woke up the next morning, Sunday, 30 March, I decided that I was lacking as far as my transition was concerned, and if I was going to go through with it, I’d either need to do so, or crawl back into the closet where I’d been for fifty years. And so, that morning, I threw on my wig, put on a little makeup (really, just a little: I had no idea what I was doing), got dressed, and headed for my normal weekend morning hangout, the Panera in Camp Hill. I was nervous, I was scared, I was worried I was going to get chased out of the joint, and while I did get a few stares–lots of few stares, actually–I was waited on and served.
That was the start. And I even got a picture to commemorate the moment, because if you don’t see it, it didn’t happen, right?
April of 2014 was really my transition month, and the biggest turning point for me was, believe it or not, the fact that I was getting tired of transferring my ID from my woman’s wallet to my male wallet, and I reached the next milestone where I decided I was either going to be a woman or man, and chose woman because, yeah, I was.
Yesterday was my anniversary of my real coming out, where I’d decided to forgo all possible humiliation and walk out of my apartment and show the world who I was. Yesterday I met with my tax prepare at H&R Block in Valparaiso, IN–you may have heard a little about Indiana lately, as the government here is trying to squeeze the entire state into a TARDIS and take us back to 1915–so I could file my federal and state taxes, naturally. Last year I’d done so in male mode, but not so much this year. This year I went as myself, my true self, and my tax lady didn’t bat an eye. She remarked that I looked good, and asked a few questions about my transition, but mostly what she wanted to know was if I was getting ready to publish anything else, since I had a 1099 from Amazon for book royalties. (All of fifteen dollars, if you must know.) As for the whole, “Oh, you’re a woman now?” thing–she could care less.
As I tell people, I still suffer from depression, I still cry, I still believe at times that the end is near, but right now the least of my worries is transition. The news was good enough yesterday that I was able to determine that I’ll be able to undergo electrolysis this summer, and later today or tomorrow I’ll start the process on getting my name and gender markers changed.
It’s been a strange and wonderful journey. And as I say, I have pictures.
What a different a year makes.