A Tale of Two Cows

Friday, May 31, 2013


There is a story attached to these two cows.

I recently received them from a friend.

They now occupy a place of pride in my home.

Why? 

Read on. :c)


I recently passed the 18 month mark in my transition. It hardly seems possible; it feels like both an eternity and a moment ago, as I have no doubt remarked previously.

I have come out to enough friends and family that, while hardly routine, there is a certain familiarity with how it will likely proceed.

As Stace recently remarked to me, for some reason we seem to have been blessed with exceptionally supportive people in our lives. (We both agreed that it likely was based more on luck than merit in our respective cases! lol)

I was told before I started coming out that the best course of action was to have no expectations. That has stood me in good stead. 

With only a few exceptions, people have been incredibly supportive. Even those who are struggling have remained a part of my life, and I am grateful for that.

(Of course, some people are supportive in their own... well, unique fashion.

My friend M, a born smart ass like your humble authoress, has been utterly consistent from the get-go.

Shortly after I came out to him, we were chatting with mutual friends to whom I had also come out.

"We just want you to know that this doesn't doesn't change how we feel about you one bit," one of them assured me. "We still feel exactly the same way about you."

"That's true. None of us liked you before this either," explained M helpfully. 

What would we do without our friends? :c))

Every once in a while, though, someone says something that stops me in my tracks and makes me realize how fortunate I am.

***

I have come out to several of my work colleagues, all of whom have long since crossed the line from being co-workers to being dear friends. As challenging as this job has been, more and more I have come to believe that I was destined to work here so I could meet my manager L and my fellow writers S and B.

And my friend R.

R, like S, was hired directly out of college last summer as a technical writer. 

Like S, she had no previous experience.

And like S, she grew by leaps and bounds, quickly assuming a role far greater than anything that L, B, or myself had achieved at a similar stage of our careers. 

(Whenever I chat with L and B, we constantly express our amazement at their growth.

"It makes you wonder what the heck is wrong with us, doesn't it?" I mused once to L, my manager.

In her usual laconic manner - she *is* a born-and-bred Texan, after all - she paused for a moment before speaking.

"Well," she drawled, "*I* was smart enough to hire R. And *B* was smart enough to hire S. So I don't know what *your* story is." lol)

S and R share a number of traits.

Both are smart as a whip, hard workers, and very, very sweet.

For all their similarities, it is their differences that are fascinating.

S is quieter and more reserved.

R is outgoing, and has a vibrancy that immediately endears her to new acquaintances. 

Because S and I worked closely together on my project last summer, I got to know her sooner. 

It quickly became apparent that R was destined to play a large part in my life as well though.

I planned to tell her shortly after the New Year began.

Like me, though, a seemingly endless string of health woes seemed to beset her just before Christmas last year. 

She also came down with the flu that lingered for nearly two months in my case. 

(In fact, it was R who called L to tell her to send me home on what would have been my first day back from work post-holidays.

L called me just after I left a meeting early that afternoon and ordered me to go home that instant.

I protested, but she cut me off.

"R called me just before you went into your meeting. 

"She said "'L, do you know how sick [my boy name] is? His hair is *flat*!'"

Clearly that is someone you want in your life!)

R, unfortunately, was stricken with a particularly nasty strain of this flu, one that lingered seemingly forever.

I felt guilty not telling R sooner, but I didn't want to impose on her while she regained her strength.

I finally decided it was long past time to tell her two weeks ago this Friday. L agreed, as did S, who offered to come with me as a gesture of support to both R and myself. 

We went to one of R and S's favorite local restaurants for lunch two Fridays ago. 

One thing they share in common is an unerring instinct for the finest eating establishments in what seems to be a 100 mile radius of wherever they are. I am a native of this area, and I have *no* idea how they accomplished this in a matter of months. :c)

After ordering and a bit of work-related chat, I told R that I had something personal that I wanted to share with her.

As I told her, her large brown eyes grew even wider.

"Thank you so much for sharing this with me, Cass," she said when I finished. "I'm totally flattered, and honored that you trust me enough to share this with me." 

I assured her the honor was mine, which was the truth. She demonstrated why as I told her some of the details of my story.

I related some of the experiences I've written about in The Chronicles of Cass. I also told her about a series of experiences I have *not* written about yet. Those experiences, which occurred during puberty, scarred me in ways I am still struggling to come to terms with even now. 

I have made a great deal of progress in that struggle, and will exorcise those demons... but I still have a ways to go. They are still simply too raw and too personal for me to write about at length at the moment, either for myself or to share on my blog. 

I had related those events to S recently; she sat quietly as I spoke, without interruption. Her support was palpable; words were not needed.

R's eyes were misty the entire time I spoke. 

"All that pain..." she said in wonder when I finally finished. "How did you ever endure that much? You were so young, and completely alone... and you had to keep all of this inside you for your entire life."

"I have no idea how you can be as well-adjusted as you are."

I started to joke, but she cut me off.

"I mean it. Most people would be out of their minds trying to push all that down...but you survived."

"I give you, and all of your friends, so much credit. What you're doing takes so much courage. You had to go  deep inside yourself to acknowledge who you are. And then you've had to work incredibly hard to make that a reality. And all while knowing some people won't accept you."

I didn't have anything to say to that, other than what I always tell people when I face a difficult, painful moment in my transition. 

"My friends managed to do this; that means I can too."

"And I know that I have all of my friends behind me too."

Like R.

***

It was a long lunch, needless to say. R, as she is prone to do, told me to relax when I looked at the clock.

"You never stop the entire time you're in the office, for God's sake! You could do nothing but go to lunch for the next two weeks and they'd still owe you time! Relax!"

She was, as usual, correct. :c)

After work, I went to the gym downstairs and worked out. In spite of the exhaustion I invariably feel after telling someone, I still felt very good when I finished.

On my way home, I stopped at Starbucks for what I considered to be a well-deseved toffee nut iced coffee. (I am a girl of simple pleasures, I am!)

As I sipped it and checked on the Mariners score (they were losing, of course :c(), my phone buzzed.

An incoming text message had arrived.

I picked it up and clicked on my text messages. 

This is what I read:

"Hey! Just FYI. You make so much more sense as Cass than you ever did as [my boy name]. Hope you have an amazing weekend! Rest and have fun. :)"

Yes, I cried. :c) 

And I didn't care that I was in public either.

Those were the most meaningful words anyone has spoken to me since I began my transition.

I told R how much they meant to me... but I don't think I can get across *how* much.

I hope this gives her some small measure of how I feel.

Thank you, R.

***

Since that memorable day, R has been wonderful.

She is liberal with her praise ("Girl, you are *so* pretty already! How do you not see it?!?"). Even when it is relly not warranted. :c)

She has also offered much sage advice. Just once small example should suffice.

She knows my favorite color is teal, and asked if I had teal nail polish to use for my toenails.

I replied that my feet are quite ugly, and that if I have my way, no one will ever see them once I am full-time.

I explained that it is a by-product of being a total klutz. And that I have an extensive assortment of ingrown toenails, broken toes, blisters, and fractured/broken ankles and feet to prove it.

I also joked that I would have quite a time explaining it to the guys in the gym locker room. :c)

A moment later R marched over to my desk, plopped something into my backpack, then spun around and returned to her desk.

I dug it out, and this is what I found:


A moment later my phone buzzed. It was another text message from R.

"Painting your toenails isn't about what other people think. It's something feminine that you are doing for you and you alone. No one else needs to know about it. Trust me; it will make you feel really girly to know that your nails are painted. You have no idea."

Sound advice yet again.

S told me that R has a superior eye for fashion, and will prove to be an invaluable companion as I build my wardrobe. And sure enough, I began getting regular photos of outfits R wants me to consider.

"You're slender; you can wear pretty much anything you want. These are just some things I think would work for you."

I liked nearly everything she suggested. (Think sundresses. Lots of sundresses. And lots of cowboy boots. :c))

I was struck by how close they seemed to match what I seemed to gravitate towards on my own, and mentioned this to R, asking her what that meant.

"It means you have a pretty good idea of what should work for you."

I was surprised, as I told her I'd always sort of assumed I would gravitate to the "artsy chick" look.

I could hear her laughter from dozens of miles away as I read her reply.

"Hon, don't take this the wrong way... but you are a total girly-girl. In the best way, not like a cliche. It's the look you like, how you move, how you act... it's who you are.

"And all of that is a good thing. Because it means you're finally being yourself."

"And that's a really good thing."

Yes, I cried again.:c)

***

Believe me when I tell you I have just barely begun to scratch the surface of my adventures with R. :c) 

I told her I could see her becoming a regular in my blog posts, and she hoped people would like her.

You have nothing to worry about, R, believe me.

*** 

I'll end by telling you the story behind the latest additions to my collection of cows.

They were given to me by R, as you have no doubt guessed by now.

R is from Texas, so she understands my bovine fascination.

My cow socks.

The stuffed cows in my bed top menagerie:


My cow bank:



My cow sugar bowl:


And of course my cow calendar (or cowlendar, to use the correct terminology):


R was nice enough to bring me back several adorable cow postcards after her visit to Texas for the holidays; they hang in my office at work.

And last week she presented me with the two little guys you see at the top of this post. They're salt and pepper shakers, although it's difficult to discern that from the angle.

They are adorable, no matter how you look at them.

And each time I look at them they make me think of the kindness R has shown me since I shared my news with her.

And that makes me happy.

Every single time. :c)

***

R shares similar musical tastes to mine, so I thought I would post a Texas artist for whom we both share a passion.

For this first post, a terrific singer-songwriter named Hayes Carll. 

Here's a very, very funny song from his own pen:


I defy you to listen to those lyrics and not laugh out loud. :c)

Like all great writers though, the funny songs make the quiet, melancholy ones hit that much harder:



He also has excellent taste when it comes to covering other artists. Here's his inspired take on one of my favorite Tom Waits tunes, "I Don't Wanna Grow Up":


Enjoy!!!

4 comments:

Stace on June 1, 2013 at 10:48 AM said...

:)

Just :)

Stace

Cassidy on June 2, 2013 at 6:17 PM said...

Exactly. :c)

Hugs,
Cass

April on June 2, 2013 at 11:23 PM said...

Cass, really the Ramones own I Don't Wanna Grow Up

Cassidy on June 3, 2013 at 12:16 AM said...

That's a cover of Mr. Waits as well (but I'm sure you already knew that). ;-p

And with all due "gabba gabba hey" to Mrs. Ramone's boys... no one does Tom better than Tom. ;c)

== Cass

P.S. The Ramones are still awesome!

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