An announcement

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

So… there's something I need to say. 

Something I've suspected for more than a few months now.

But I wasn't sure.

It's one of those things that gradually sneaks up on you while you aren't paying attention. 

That gentle, insistent voice in your mind that never quite goes away, even when you might wish that it would.

Then, one day, out of the blue, it hits you like a thunderbolt. 

And when that happens, there's no use denying the truth.

I told myself when I decided to transition that I wouldn't limit myself in any way. And that I would be completely open to new experiences. And that I would share them, instead of hiding out because of shame, or guilt, or fear.

Accordingly, I've decided it's time to finally acknowledge, publicly, to myself and to you, how I feel in my heart of hearts.  

So… here goes:

I'm in love.


It's true.

I've said it. In public. For all the world to see.

And the object of my affection, you ask?


Kitties to the Rescue!

Friday, February 17, 2012

OK, so the last few posts were, uh, a bit on the glum side. /g I promised I'd address that in my next post. So without further ado, something guaranteed to make even cranky, b***** me smile: Maru the wonder cat!

If you aren't familiar with Maru, he and the human he graces with his presence live in Japan. Maru has his own YouTube channel - and it's AWESOME. And educational. Don't believe me? Watch and learn, watch and learn.

The Healing Game

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

It may not surprise anyone who read my most recent posts, but I was feeling a bit drained on Tuesday. OK, more than a bit. I was pretty much wiped out, to be honest. 

I wrote for nearly nine straight hours to finish the final portion of the first post (I wrote them out of the order in which they take place chronologically; I suspected if I wrote that one first I would be hard-pressed to start the second post, let alone complete it).

I posted them around 4:00 AM, and then lay awake, waiting for my brain to quiet down. I drifted off into a fitful sleep around 6:30, but my alarm woke me at 9:00. I had an appointment with M, my therapist.

Again, I'll be honest: I wanted to skip it. That's not how I usually feel; while I've had several excellent therapists in the past, M is the best. But I felt very raw and worn down, not to mention exhausted (I'd been up writing until 6:00 two nights before as well). But I knew I should go, so I got up, downed some coffee, and made the 45 minute drive.

I'm glad I did.

The first post dominated the session. M asked if I felt the same sense of catharsis that I felt in December after completing the two long posts I'd written back then. 

I told her I didn't, and wasn't sure I ever would. She asked what made these events different. And after a moment I realized what it was.

While those events were painful, in looking back I could say that I had done everything in my power to achieve what I wanted so desperately: a relationship. That didn't happen, but I knew it wasn't because I failed to take action.

This time, though, that wasn't the case. I *did* fail to take action, I told her; even though I knew why that was the case, the thought of what might have been had I been able to overcome my fears (although perhaps terror wouldn't be too strong a word in this case) would stay with me for the rest of my life.

M took a moment, then began to speak in her understated way.

"It's understandable that you when you look back now, you dissect what you think you should have done.

"But L… you were 21 years old. 21. Years. Old. Studies show that our brains don't fully develop cognitively until we're 25. Essentially you were still a teenager. 

"On top of that, you were carrying this secret that scared you to death, that you felt you could never risk sharing with anyone, and that you suspected meant no one would ever love you. 

"And while you've acknowledged and accepted that your parents did the best they could, it's fair to say that you grew up in an environment in which, at a minimum, you were completely on your own in terms of emotional support.

"You had no one to talk to, no one who could help you figure out how to cope with these feelings, or to show you how to form a healthy, loving adult relationship. You had to try to figure it out all on your own. And again… you were only 21.

"You did the very best you could at that time in your life," she said. "That's all you could ask of yourself. That's all any of us could ask."

"What bothers me the most is thinking that if H thinks of me at all, she just thinks that she was wrong about me," I said. "That I *was* another of those guys. The ones who didn't see anything beyond her looks."

"From how you've described her, I doubt very much that's the case," M said. "She certainly seemed to understand how sensitive you were, and how much you cared for her. 

"That's why she thanked you for always looking her in the eye when you spoke to her, rather than looking at her chest, and why she so appreciated how upset you were when she told you too many men *did* do just that. 

"And she not only agreed to go out with you after you didn't go to her Halloween party; she wanted you to come to her dinner party to meet her friends. So they could all meet this boy she'd told them so much about. So I don't believe for a second that she saw you as someone who would ever hurt her intentionally," M said. "Because you don't have a mean bone in your body.

"I strongly suspect she saw you for who you were: a shy, sensitive young man who was frightened by how intensely he felt all of these conflicting emotions, many of which he couldn't share with her, or anyone, and who simply didn't know how to process them, through no fault of his own. 

"And when she thinks of you, that's what she remembers. The kind, caring boy who looked out for her and who made her laugh. And who loved her."

She paused.

"You've talked in great depth with me about this, you've written about this, and now you've put it out into the universe, for all to see," she said. "Each of those things took a tremendous amount of courage. 

"Now, you need to acknowledge that, and to be proud of how far you've come. And you need to begin to forgive yourself. It will take time. But it will happen. I know it will."

And that was the end of the session.

The ride home was considerably easier than the ride to the session an hour earlier. I thought about her words the entire way home. I hoped that I was even half the person she described, and vowed to do my best to live up to her image of me. 

When I reached home I was exhausted… but I no longer felt drained. Instead, I felt blessed to have an ally like M on my side to help me as I move forward on my journey to becoming myself. 

May you all be similarly blessed.


Here's an unbelievably good version of "The Healing Game," one of my very favorite Van Morrison songs, and for my money one of his greatest. This version was recorded live in the studio with his amazing band. (Yes, this is actually live!) It's the title track of his superb 1997 album of the same name.

Right Now

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

“Sir. Sir?”

My head turned back from the barroom window where I’d been staring.

”I’m sorry. What did you say?”

The waitress gestured at the margarita with extra salt around the rim that sat, untouched, across from me.

I’d been sitting at the table in silence, alone, for nearly half an hour. It was nearly 11:00 PM on a Tuesday evening. We were the only two people in the bar.

“Excuse me. I didn’t mean to bother you. I asked who the extra drink was for.”

“Umm… it’s for my friend R.”

“Are you expecting her soon? I can bring a fresh drink if she’s on her way.”

“Oh. That’s very nice of you, but…”

I paused and cleared my throat.

“No. She won’t be coming. But… thank you.”

“Of course.”

She hesitated.

“I’m sorry. I don’t mean to pry… but is your friend OK?”

I bit my lower lip and closed my eyes, then took a deep breath.

Why Can't This Be Love?

I was seated in the office of M, my therapist, one recent winter afternoon.

“Do you remember the two blog posts I brought in before Christmas?” I said.

“Of course.”

“Well, I wasn’t sure if anyone would read them, but I actually got email from a few people telling me how they could relate to them.”

“That must have made you feel good,” M said.

“It did,” I said. “In fact, one of the people who wrote told me that she had something similar happen. Only she asked someone out, and then wasn't able to follow up.”

“How sad,” M said.

“That’s what I told her. But it also made me think about the one time someone actually asked me out.”

“Really?” said M. “I don’t think you ever mentioned this before.”

“I don’t really like to think about it much. But what’s odd is that ever since I have started thinking about it, I also keep thinking about another girl I knew years later.”

"Why is that?"

"I don't know. I just know they’re connected somehow."

“Well, why don’t you tell me about them?” asked M.

“I’ll start with H," I said.

Another Brief Explanation...

Several months ago I wrote a pair of related blog posts about several of my many attempts at a relationship when I was younger. Like so many of us, I ached to be with someone, anyone, whose love would take away what I knew to be the truth about myself. 

These increasingly desperate attempts ended in failure, without exception. I invariably chose poorly, as Release Vol. 1 describes. Or, as in Release Vol. 2, I chose someone who would have been suitable, but wasn't able to return my feelings. My choices as a result of her decision had near-disastrous consequences.

Due to the intensely personal nature of these experiences, I was fairly certain I would not post them to my blog. My therapist, M, without telling me which choice was better, suggested I at least consider posting them. It would be part of the process of letting go of these memories and removing the power they've held over me for far too long.

Ultimately, I decided to post them. If it helped even one person who had gone/was going through something similar, I reasoned, then that alone would be justification enough for making them public.

It turned out to be the correct choice. While it would be an exaggeration to suggest that these posts set the Internet ablaze ;c), it's fair to say that they easily generated the greatest number of comments, both posted and private, of anything I'd written. I was genuinely moved by people's reactions. When I mentioned this to my friend F, he said, in his typically perceptive way, that everyone understands loss, no matter their background.

One commenter in particular (you know who you are :c)) wrote to me privately to express her sympathy and ask if I'd ever had a successful relationship of any sort. 

I replied, truthfully, that I had not. I had been turned down by every single girl I'd ever asked. She then related a story from her life in which she asked someone out successfully… only to never follow up.

And suddenly I realized that, in fact, I actually a similar story in my past, one I had worked extremely hard to forget for nearly half my life.

As I thought about those long-ago events, I was puzzled when memories of a dear friend from my past began to fill my thoughts. I was never interested in her romantically, nor was she interested in me. So what was the connection between these two seemingly unrelated women from my past?

I mentioned this to my therapist, M, at a session shortly after the initial conversation that sparked these thoughts. She suggested that we discuss them in an effort to discover that connection. 

The next two posts are the results of those discussions. 

In the introduction to those two earlier posts, I mentioned that they were the most painful things I had ever written about. And without diminishing their impact on me in the least, the first of the two posts you're about to read was harder on an exponentially greater level. It reached the point that I stopped work on it at the 3/4 point, a period that soon stretched to two weeks. For whatever reason, I was unwilling and/or unable to relive those memories again.

Finally, last night, I recalled the words of a wise friend. Last summer, when I first began this blog, she was kind enough to reach out to me, a total stranger, to offer her support. I told her then that I had several topics I felt I needed to address, but was reluctant to do so. Her advice was simple. Follow your instincts, she said; they'll tell you when it's time.

And she was correct. Last December turned out to be the right time to finally let myself process those incidents. And late last evening turned out to be the right time to go back and relieve events I hadn't allowed myself to think about for half a lifetime.

I feel I must apologize for the extreme length of both pieces. I debated shortening them significantly, but in the end I decided I needed to give these stories enough space to do justice to the two women who are their subjects. I hope I was able to get across at least some measure of what made them so special.

Having finally finished, I have to be honest and admit that I feel no sense of closure, which I did when I completed the posts from last December. At the risk of being melodramatic, these events, particularly those described in the first post, are going to be with me for the rest of my life. It still hurts, and hurts a great deal, to think about them. But whatever healing that might take place can at least begin now. And that will have to suffice.

Thank you in advance for your patience in bearing with me. And thank you for letting me share these stories with you.

At Least We Had Cake...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Meant to put this up the other night, but I was still bummed out about the Super Bowl.

In spite of the disappointing outcome, the evening had its bright side. Namely, my sister-in-law picked up another ice cream pizza, just like the one we had on Christmas Eve. Here's the original:

And here's the special, Patriots-themed version:

(I got one of the slices with sno caps, in case you're wondering.)

Delicious as it was, it failed to produce a Pats victory, alas. Perhaps we should have waited 'til after the game? Anyway, it's a rare treat that gets me to eat dessert on a day other than Thanksgiving or Christmas... but yum, this was so worth it!

The only problem is we now have to wait for another excuse reason to buy another one. Hmm... I'm thinking that the start of spring training next week merits recognition; what say you all?

My Foolish Heart

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Just a little something from the great Bill Evans to soothe any disappointed Patriots fans out there. (Or, for casual football fans like yours truly, those who just hate seeing *any* New York team win.)

But hey, pitchers and catchers report in less than two weeks! Woo-hoo! And that means the Red Sox can pick up where they left off last Septem - oh, wait...

And tomorrow is Monday, isn't it? 


Take it away, Mr. Evans. 



The Revenge of Bits & Pieces (a/k/a More Random Stuff)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Just a few more odds and ends while I plug away on two more mega-long posts. 

I had a job interview on Friday, which I thought went well. You never know how it will go these days, of course, but I liked the people, and it would be a stable position (she said hopefully), which would be a nice switch from the last few gigs I've had. 

It would be a haul (55 minutes each way), which is a bit of a drag. All of my doctors and the nearest trans-friendly electrologist are an hour away. On the plus side, I'll have lots of time to perfect my voice, though, right? Anyway, please cross all available fingers and toes. Especially the ones with cool nail polish on 'em...


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