Well, it’s almost Christmas, actually, tomorrow is Christmas Eve (that would make tonight Christmas Eve’s Eve)! It’s funny how time has flown by this year. It seems like only yesterday that Mark and I were back in Silver City, making plans to sell a bunch of our winter clothes in order to get ready for our move to Florida. It seems like yesterday when I was in Florida and meeting Mark’s family for the first time. They were all very nice to me and his sister even allowed us to stay with her and her partner throughout our vacation. Mark met his little nephew for the first time and he was so excited to do that. All in all, it was a very nice time. What was really nice was finally being welcomed and accepted by family. I can’t say that it was full acceptance but hey, I was grateful and thankful for that. We were even invited to meet up with some of my extended family that lived close by in Miami. I thought that it was an honest attempt at wanting to understand Mark and I but looking back now I see that it was just their curiosity that they wanted to satisfy. They had heard about the fact that I had transitioned and subsequently married again and they wanted to see the “freak show” for themselves. I did not even bother to take any pictures with them because I felt so uncomfortable. Mark felt guarded too because so many times, people just don’t get us. They tolerate us but they do not even try to understand why we do what we do. He had them all laughing though when he pulled out his phone and showed them pictures of him when he was all buff and all man. They were amused at his expense but they did not care, to them, gender change is impossible and weird.
Granted, they were cordial and all, I was hugged by one of my aunts and it felt nice but do you think that we were ever invited back? Fat chance, all they wanted us for was so that they could gossip about me and my life choices. I remember that the next time that I heard from one of my cousins in Florida, it was the weekend before Easter Sunday. My cousin asked me what we were doing for Easter and I told her that we had no plans at all. You would think that if a person would ask that question that they would be maybe considering on inviting us, uh no, that was not at all the intent? So we spent it alone.
Now it is two days before Christmas and after having attempted to detransition together for the sake of getting my kids back into my life, we managed to even upset the only real ally and family that we had in Florida, Mark’s lesbian sister. In a couple of blogs that we wrote in our Christian zeal, we ended up really pissing off the only family that we had here. I apologized but it was to be too late and so now we have no one but ourselves to celebrate this Christmastime with. No family celebrations, no Christmas Eve get-togethers, none of it. Mark and I are truly alone this Christmas.
We know that so many people in the LGBTQ community have no one at all and we consider ourselves to be so blessed to have one another. If you are alone during this holiday time I just wanted to say that I am so sorry, I know what it is like to be all alone, I wish that I could invite all of the lonely people over to our little studio apartment and hug each one of you and to tell you that you are indeed loved. Please don’t let loneliness get the best of you this Christmas, no matter how you may feel, you can find a reason to celebrate life’s little blessings. You deserve to be happy, you deserve to have yourself a Merry little Christmas.
Life has its ebbs and its flows, you may find yourself in one of these dreaded ebbs right now. Know that life ebbs and flows into seasons and the fact is that this too shall pass. If you find yourself at a place in your life where you can’t help but cry, it’s okay, please do, there is nothing wrong with that. We are emotional creatures and it is okay to feel in this life. Part of what I am saying is directed to myself because I too need to hear these words.
If you have a loving, supportive family and friends, don’t ever take that for granted. I used to live a life in which the holidays were filled with buying this and that gift, last minute wrapping, sleeping little ones excited to see what was under the tree for them. It was a life that I had built for decades with my first spouse. Our lives seemed to be ripped straight out of a Currier & Ives photo of how things were meant to be. I will never forget the innocence and wonder that filled my children’s eyes when we would gather together under the glowing lights of our Christmas tree and I would open up the Bible to read the story of the birth of Jesus. It was a precious time in which they would snuggle up close after having their tummies filled with Christmas cookies. I would videotape and take pictures of all of it, it was what I did. Then they would all go to bed and their mother would fill up their Christmas stockings with goodies and then we would call it a night.
When morning would break, the kids would be lined up clamoring by the bedroom door asking if they could open gifts yet. After having a special Christmas breakfast, it was that time, time to open up the gifts. In a matter of 20 minutes, gifts that took 3 hours to wrap were handed out, opened and all that was left was a big pile of wrapping paper. Wide eyes and excited voices rejoiced over the fact that they had gotten everything that they had asked for yet again this Christmas.
All of that ended for me after the Christmas of 2013. I had already moved out of the house and had my own apartment the previous month. I came over to take the family to Christmas Eve candlelight service. The next morning, I went back to the house to open gifts and celebrate Christmas with the kids. By that evening, things just started to fall apart for me as I realized that I did not know what next Christmas was going to look like for all of us. Things were changing and it was that evening that I broke the news to the kids that mommy and daddy were not going to stay together. I remember that in a matter of minutes, a beautiful day turned into a horrible one. My then 13 year old daughter ran over to me in disbelief and clutched onto me as she sobbed and said no over and over. I could not tell them the reason that I was not welcome was because I was transgender and was already beginning the process of changing my gender. I had the biggest lump in my throat for a long time and when I thought back to that night, I would almost choke in my tears. It has been a real journey since those times.
The following year was indeed quite the change for me. At the end of 2014 I had found myself recovering from tracheal surgery in a hotel room in Plymouth, Minnesota. My friend Rebecca, had been with me as I underwent the surgery to remove my Adam’s Apple and she helped me for those next several days as I booked a few nights at a local hotel to recover and heal. She was very kind to me during that time and I will always be grateful to her for her kindness. My Christmas Eve did look quite different from my Currier & Ives family picture of days gone-by. I heard no silly voices and laughter, innocent eyes filled with wonder. No, I had not seen those children of my heart for quite some time. Instead, I found myself with my transwoman friend Rebecca and my former boyfriend James in a small hotel room with my neck ironically in a brace. I remember that we all went out to a restaurant that evening and celebrated Christmas Eve quietly that evening. I do not even remember what happened on Christmas Day? It was going to be the last time that I was going to be in Minnesota because in just a few days I would find myself on the road and on my way to meet Mark in New Mexico.
Life has changed for me in so many ways. Some people may think that I am just plain crazy and if that is your opinion, I do not blame you. Some people may think that I am heartless, self-centered, narcissistic, hurtful and a real tragedy. I don’t blame you either. My kids can’t seem to grasp any way to understand me, my mother and sister want nothing to do with me. It’s okay, I know why you all feel the way that you do. You are angry with me over my life choices and the decisions that I have made.
Here’s what I know, I have always loved my kids and I would be lying to you if I told you that I do not mind not being able to be with them and being able to tell them that I love them. It kills me, especially during times like these when family is supposed to be everything. What I can say is that everything that I have done has been directly related to the relationship that I have longed to have again with my children. Mark’s detransition? My kids. My detransition? My kids. The conversion to Christianity? My kids. The strong words that we have had in opposition to the trans community, feminists and the LGBTQ? My kids. My desire to have my children in my life has caused me to burn so many bridges in my life. It has been like getting the death penalty to not see my now seven-year-old and his siblings.
This is what I have to do though, I need to let it all go, the memories, the longings, the wishes. I need to look forward and stop looking back. So that is what I intend to do this weekend with my husband. We are going to celebrate this Christmas together just he and I. We are going to make new traditions and new memories entirely. He deserves to be happy and to see my happiness as well. We deserve to feel each other’s love this Christmas season and I intend to do just that with the one person in this world that I love and that I know loves me, every single part of me.
I intended to have this blog post yesterday the 23rd but I didn’t quite get it done before we went out for dinner. I can tell you that we made new memories last night, it was so much fun as we had this amazing Thai-inspired guacamole and some awesome fish, shrimp and ahi tuna tacos. We had more glasses of sauvignon blanc than we should have had but after dancing at another local bar, we made our way back home but not before getting caught in a downpour. We were able to find shelter from getting completely soaked but hey, we are making new memories and new traditions fit for just two.
I cannot begin to tell you how incredibly grateful that I am to God that Mark came into my life two years ago. I would do it all over again if that meant that it would mean that I would be able to have you him into my life. You have made me a better person and I am honored to share this journey on this earth with you. It does not come too often to too many people to be able to experience love like this. It is a rare treasure to ever be lucky enough to receive. So, my Love, here’s to a lifetime of new memories and wonderful and unique traditions for both you and for me. I don’t need another present because Christmas comes to me every morning that I wake up in your arms and I am able to unwrap my greatest ever, you.