‘Years in the Telling’

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‘The loneliest people are the kindest.  The saddest people smile the brightest.  The most damaged people are the wisest.  All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do.’

  • Contributed by: Janet H

(1972 xx xx) Dad-Slim at Anatolia campus

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I tried contacting relatives and friends to re-kindle our past and overcome our obstacles.

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Nancy, a cousin on my mom’s side of the family, is close in my heart.  We began with our long-time pen-pal relationship during childhood – we exchanged correspondences sharing our world travel experiences.

Nancy invited me (as my male predecessor Nick, that is) to her wedding (1984) – an all-expences-paid trip from Utah to Texas.  Nancy knew of my change through family gossip; imposing my medical history, my confirmation operations, and attending as Sharon was not happening during her wedding.  This was her event – it belonged to her.  I filmed her ceremony, reception, and family events; I produced a video as my gift for her.

Nancy suddenly began sending anti-LGBT brochures to me (1986).  I take some humour that her demand that I not go through with my sex change was backward.  She wrote to me to not change from what I am to what she thought I would be.  In other words, in applying her unknowing perspective, she was telling me to not change from female to male; I can do that.  I accepted her concern and took no offence.  She has not written to me since 1986.

I recently conducted an Internet search, found her, and tried re-establishing our relationship.  Instead she wrote back that she does not know me and told me not to write again.

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I tried re-cultivating relationships with two other cousins – these on my dad’s side of the family:  Nancy and John.(1976 08) Follansbee (3) - Slim and Boyuks (Ohio River view)

This Nancy and I met only once (August 1976).  She lived at West Virginia with an expansive view of the Ohio River from their front window.  My dad and I were travelling cross-country and returning home from spending our Summer with his family at New Jersey.  Nancy was fun to get to know.  She was a big Elton John fan.  One day, our families gathered at their front yard for some casual picture-taking; she was reluctant.  I took quick candid shots that drew her good-humoured ire.

It was good that I took those pictures.  Years later, Megan (Nancy’s daughter) came upon me  through her ancestry search.  I sent scanned copies of those three pictures that surely charmed both Megan and Nancy.  I did not mention to Megan that I (Sharon) was the male predecessor Nick who Nancy knew those days 30 years earlier.  Megan quit writing to me.  Always my worst fears kicking in, I suspected Nancy figured my situation.

I know little of John; he was also making the same ancestry search with Megan.  He sent an e-mail to me when Megan and I were exchanging our e-mails. I replied to John’s e-mail but did not receive any additional e-mails from him.  I also expected his non-reply was influenced by whatever Nancy may have mentioned to him

I recently tried re-connecting with Nancy, Megan, and John (May 2015).  So far no recent reply from either, though John’s e-mail came back as un-deliverable.  I see that as at least good news; if they respond telling me not to contact them again, then that is the bad news.  I will continue writing without being insistently intrusive.

*

Lisa is one reveal 40 years in the telling.

Lisa and I were school-mates when she was in 10th Grade and I was in 12th Grade (1974). She worked on the school yearbook student staff while I was a contributing student from Photography class.

We met again and developed our friendship (1975).  We maintained a friendly association at varying levels for many years.

The last time Lisa and I met face-to-face was when I conducted business at the school where both she and my dad were teachers (May 1985).  I was tying up loose ends of my male predecessor though I was now Sharon, not my male predecessor’s persona.  Recall when I wrote about presentation and perception; this concept was valid at our last meeting.  Every stitch of clothing that I wore that day was woman’s wear (shirt top, jeans, shoes, etc.); I no longer possessed any male attire.  For Lisa, I styled my hair in a male way and refrained make-up and perfume (though my natural scent was clearly female).  Lisa saw me as male, we interacted with me as male, I used my best male falsetto.  She never knew me with facial hair, or even shadow, so she likely held no suspicions about my absent facial hair at our last meeting.  Her workplace was neither the time nor place for me to discuss my change.

Lisa worked with my dad; she knew him personally.  Lisa and I exchanged periodic notes through my dad as intermediary for years following that May 1985 meeting.

I called Lisa on the telephone a few times to share sympathies during the period of my dad’s death (1989).  I identified myself to her only as Sharon, not as my former male predecessor persona; I substituted Sharon for my former male identification.  That did not seem to confuse her as we exchanged reminiscences of our shared past.  I refrained discussing my change during our consoling telephone calls because that topic was not within the realm of our conversation reminiscing about my dad.

I planned a visit to Lisa as part of my trip to her town to conduct other business (late-1990s).  Meeting with Lisa that day was not to be.  I did visit with her mom.  She knew me well when I was a male.  She was puzzled who I was when we discussed events that she surely recalled occurred between Lisa and her male friend Nick, not this woman Sharon presenting to her that afternoon.  I did not want to impose my change upon Lisa’s mom until I spoke to Lisa.  I left a videotape of a sample of my TV shows as a token of a gift to Lisa.

I have made intermittent efforts to re-connect with Lisa without intruding upon her present life.  Current results remain pending.

*

Clint and I were neighbours, we rode the school bus together, we were 12th Grade class-mates, and we began developing our best friend relationship in 1973.

Clint enlisted in the Navy at the end of school and began his service late-1974.  We maintained our friendship throughout his duties in the Pacific.  The Navy discharged Clint (late-1978); he stayed with me at my home during his immediate post-service time and he prepared to attend college the coming semester beginning January 1979.

Clint and I were sitting on the couch watching TV one evening when he suddenly went into convulsions.  I knew enough how to stay with a person enduring seizures.  He was confused as he revived; I told him what happened.  I nursed Clint through these sudden, growing occurrences of events while he stayed at my home during that month.  He attended to a variety of medical appointments and learned that the Navy made him ill with Agent Orange.

We did many things together as ‘bros’ during our friendship years.  The most exciting was the day we spent sky-diving.  It was something I always wanted to do.  Sky-diving was fun but I suppose that I will likely not do it again.

He picked me as his ‘Best Man’ for his wedding – his wedding happened during that week following my departure from Utah when I stayed at my dad’s home while doing my house-hunting and moving (June 1985).  Unknowingly, Clint’s ‘Best Man’ for the job was a woman presenting her male predecessor one last time – Clint’s wedding was my big send-off to the demise of Nick – only I knew about it.  I felt bad withholding my personal situation from Clint, yet as with cousin Nancy, this wedding was his moment and not mine.

I waited and told Clint a few days after his wedding.  My friend initially took everything with a seemingly positive curiosity but he lacked comprehending basic biology and A&P; I went only as far as he understood.  He took it well initially and for the first few days.  He went to a week of Navy Reserve duty and still seemed accepting when his wife and I went to greet him at the airport.  Within the next week he changed; his acceptance collapsed into eventual violence.  He sicced a gang of his buddies on me – four former college football players.  There but for the grace of a car that started quickly and allowed a fast getaway did I avoid whatever might have befallen me at our apartment parking lot – whether a solid beating or worse.

Anyway, I pondered words to write to Clint in an anniversary card that I sent to him on his 30th anniversary.  I can only hope these past three decades have mellowed his attitude.

*

I have two close friends who live at Tucson; I travel to visit them as frequently as I can.  We have known each other at least 25 years; we became friends while we worked together making TV at the community TV station.  They only know me as Sharon; they never knew my male predecessor Nick or any mention of him.  My dilemma has always been how or when or why I inform them.  What is the point now?  Any need to comment fades through the intervening years as they know me as me Sharon and that should be all we need.  My male predecessor has not existed as part of my presence long before we three met; that ‘before’ presence has been absent from my ‘after’ spirit all these years.

*

‘Marriage Equality’?

So what that the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of ‘Marriage Equality’.

I have been following various news and social message boards throughout this year when they discussed the topic of transsexual / transgender.  The overwhelming sentiment is hatred and vile toward any and every human being who experiences their gender identity dilemma.  The worst are the numerous who openly call upon Americans to ‘hunt and kill’ transsexuals and leave our ‘dismembered bodies’ to ‘rot to the insects’ or be ‘gnarled by the bears in the woods’ (actual quotes of actual posts).  After all, as these commentors posted to their message boards, what normal heterosexual man in his right mind would want to date a M-F transsexual, make love with a M-F transsexual, or dare we say marry a M-F transsexual.  God forbid!  Oh, yeh,  they also inflict their audience with their own messages from God, or at least their god.

The few support for transsexuals is more from the clinical community – medical experts who post facts about human development, biology, and A&P.

My personal experiences fare no better.  I lived 35 years in my own ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ anonymity until I decided I’d rather tell and get this complication resolved up front.

So when someone cheers on ‘Marriage Equality’, I say ‘Never mind’.  My family, my best friends, and my community at large turned against me.  What good is equality when there is no partner to share it?

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