I actually picked up even worse eating habits during those years in which I was trying to become more healthy. I had been told that I should stay way from carbs and juices but I could have as much meat as I wanted to. I was also told to substitute NutraSweet (yes, I have to actually -filled soft drinks and so I began to indulge in drinking all kinds of Diet Dr. Pepper, Diet Mountain Dew, Diet Coke, Diet Rite Cola, just about anything with the diet label was supposedly safe. They were not and the ironic thing is that prior to wanting to “eat healthier”, I actually did eat healthier than that.
That what was so odd about it all, I ended up making myself sicker this whole time. I did not know it then but what I had actually done to myself was to compromise my metabolism along the way to trying to be more fit. Then came 2011 and towards the end of that year when EVERYTHING began to change. I was 41 years old the time and I had lived with a lifetime of gender issues. No one knew, I did not confide in anyone this fact. To me, it was the one thing that I would never let anyone know, ever. Or so I thought…
The funny thing is that I had managed to keep my feelings in check and I never did anything much more than read stuff about transitioning online. I had done that for years though, what changed? What made the tail of 2011 so pivotal for me? I remember being gone a lot throughout that year because my career was having me go all over the country. I spent lots of nights in hotels both by myself and with my family, who loved to come along. The kids grew up going on these crazy job road trips with me and they enjoyed every bit of it.
Why wouldn’t they though, I don’t blame them one bit for having those fond memories of swimming in hotel pools, visiting cool places and eating out at nice restaurants? It was probably a kid’s dream come true. To say that they were spoiled was a bit of an understatement. I remember being one of those early families to have a DVD player and TV in the minivan. I can’t remember how many hours I would spend before those trips making everything just right for them. I would strap portable DVD players onto the back of my seat and they would have their pick of whatever movie that they wanted to watch. All of that normality was going to change though, it was inevitable.
I remember one particular road trip that I had during August if 2011. I had a huge trip in store and my first stop was going to be Washington DC. I was there to work on a video project for a week and then I had to be in Minneapolis, Minnesota by the next week. After my job was wrapped up in DC, I had plans to spend the weekend in New York City and that is exactly what I did. I had a great time just wandering around downtown Manhattan and being a tourist. At that time, I did not us any of that time to explore my gender identity questions. I had plenty of time to do so but at that time, I was just so focused on the projects that I had done and the work yet to do. I had just purchased a new digital video camera that week and was shooting video scenes all over the city.
Later, after leaving New York on Monday morning, I headed out west towards Minnesota. I arrived in my hotel just outside of Minneapolis that next Tuesday afternoon and rested up for a week of work in town there. At no time did I bother to spend much time thinking about the gender issues that I had dealt with much more severely in times past. So after working on a great televised musical production, I made my way home to my family in Tennessee. I had so much to be thankful for, after all, work was great, my family was living in a beautiful new home and it seemed as if I was on my way to realizing my lifelong dreams. Or was I?
If I had to tell you when it was that it dawned on me that I was going to make some really massive personal changes in my life, I simply do not know when that was. It must have just been building up throughout this time because by the time November rolled around something started to really to take hold in me. I had lots of work lined up throughout that month and my spouse had let me know about some plans for the Holidays that were on her mind. She wanted to visit her sister and her family that were at that time living in Missouri. I told her that I would not be able make the trip with them because I had committed to working over Thanksgiving. It was then, I believe, that I started to think about exploring my gender questions. My brain started racing with the possibilities that I could explore because I would be alone for a week.
I never mentioned anything to my wife about what I was thinking about, I did not even know what I was going to do at that time myself. My then wife wanted me to go with them to Joplin but she understood that this was how things went sometimes. It was typical of life as a freelancer. When it rains it pours and it is either feast or famine sometimes in that kind of business. She and the kids said goodbye early that Monday morning and they were all off to visit family for the next week and I was finally alone. My week was to be probably the most pivotal and life-changing week of my life because surely after that week, life was simply never to be the same.
to be continued…