It began last Thursday, January 22, 2015 and lasted until Sunday, January 25, 2015. I’m talking about First Event, the first Transgender Conference of the year. Other years, I was excited and jubilant to be going; but this year, I was hesitant and even thought about not going. Depression can do that. What was I depressed about? I had made the mistake of setting myself up by believing that I would be invited to the family gathering on Christmas. It didn’t happen and when I spoke to one of my siblings the day after Christmas, he told me that it was never going to happen for me to be invited to family affairs. That being said, I think you can understand my “down-in-the-dump” blue mood.
Normally, I would have been packed and ready to go the week before. Not this year. Two days before the event, I was still procrastinating on what I was going to wear and to what function. That process carried over into the day before First Event. Finally, I was able to get over myself and, once started, began putting together outfits and planning when I would wear them. Each day and each event meant a change of outfits. There was one for Thursday night dancing; one for Friday day time; another for the Friday night buffet and Fashion Show and yet another for Friday night dancing. Three outfits were also chosen for Saturday.
This whole process of changing outfits actually coincided with the purpose of the weekend. That is, transitioning and all that it encompasses. So, with that in mind, my spirits started picking up and by Thursday morning, I was ready to go and feeling good. When my friend Tanya and I arrived at the Westin Hotel in Waltham, Massachusetts, it was as though we stepped into another world because of all the hustle and bustle of girls checking in, greeting each other, organizers trying to get everything and everyone to where they needed to be. It was great!
The highlight of my weekend came on Saturday when I met with the publisher, Trystan Cotton and editor, Mitch Kellaway of the book, “Letters for My Sisters”, of which I was a contributing author. We hit it off right from the start. I was asked to join them in the workshop and to read my essay, which I did and was moved when I saw that others were moved from my words. It was a great feeling to say the least. In speaking with these two wonderful and delightful men, I am happy to say that I will be sending them some of my short stories in an anthology with the purpose they will be published in my own book. Naturally, there are no guarantees with such an endeavor, but just the fact that they are willing to give me a chance is fantastic.
The only glitch in the weekend happened when Tanya had an allergic reaction to the medication she had been prescribed the week before. Thankfully, she did not require emergency treatment but she missed the Friday and Saturday events and remained in bed the whole time. It was so heartbreaking for me as well because I knew how much she had been looking forward to the conference. I was also disheartened that I was helpless. I couldn’t do anything to ease her pain and discomfort. The only consolation I had was being able to bring her some food and drink to help her keep her strength up until we journeyed home. Thankfully, when we arrived home, her dad took her to the ER and they were able to get her started on meds that helped to counter-act the other meds.
At home, I left everything in the suitcase for Monday to be unpacked, sorted and put either in the laundry or away. Then, the blizzard started and I felt it would be a good time to read, “The Butterfly Club”, written by my dear friend, Phyllis Calvey. Not far into the book, an idea began to formulate in my mind inspired by the words Phyllis had written. She writes about the butterfly being ever so present in so many spiritual ways to people and a sign, almost a premonition of sorts, that gave many a comforting feeling through the death of others and sickness. Phyllis captures the nature of the butterfly in its natural ability to change from a caterpillar to something extraordinary beautiful.
I thought about this and realized that as a transgender person, I have always likened my situation with that of a butterfly. I was born as a male and through time, practically lived in the privacy or cocoon of my mind, always feeling the pull to be who I truly am. Like a magnet, this feeling within kept developing and changing and becoming stronger until I had to break free from the confines of the cocoon and become the person I am today.
Because I have such a strong intimate relationship with God, I prayed and asked Him to guide me with the decisions I had to make. I was finally able to find the comfort in knowing that God created me in His likeness and that His love for me is unconditional in every respect and therefore, if I was born with these feelings, then He knew long before I did. Yet He still created me as I am and still loves me. Not a bad thing at all.
For years, I mentally labored over the reason why God would make me as I am, knowing that I would go through such persecution, both within me and externally from society and family. I didn’t have the answer for the longest time, but when I likened myself to the butterfly, I was able to realize that it is God’s way of making me come to Him even more than ever before. So many times when I had no one to share my thoughts and feelings and struggles, God was the only one who was there for me to speak about what was in my heart.
The Monarch butterfly will travel thousands of miles over land and sea, through different climates and harsh weather to reach its destination and fulfill its purpose…..to be complete. It is the way it is created.
With that in mind, I look back on Christmas and the exchange of words with my brother and I realize that this is another harsh storm trying to pull me away from myself and more importantly, away from God. How easy it would be to be spiteful and angry and bitter, all that God does not want me to be. All of whom and what I am not. I am transitioning into the person I was meant to be…….a woman. I am a woman who is gentle, kind, forgiving and loving. I cannot do this without the grace of God.
Maybe, just maybe, this is my sign of the butterfly and maybe, just maybe, I am a different kind of member of “The Butterfly Club” because, after all, I am dying to my old self and becoming the new.
January 29, 2015