This weekend has been a real experience as I find myself being genuine on a daily basis without concern for the masses. Jess has started her horse shows and I was nervous. Nervous that she would run well, about my first venture into camping in years, and about what could happen. This was also the first time I had seen some of my car club friends since my name change. When I say I have issue with trying to read people, I am usually right, but sometimes I am very wrong and happy to be so. I speak to my children and tell them why you should never judge a book by its cover, yet I secretly do it myself. Yes I am hypocritical but in the life ones like us live, it can be rare to find large groups who accept. Now first I can tell you about the humor that is camping and my lack of knowledge on the subject.
My wife has had a good laugh about my no skill camping. My last experience, I was six and it solidified not only my fear of camping but also my fear of snakes. Cindy spoke of her old trips with her family and sleeping in an old army tent on a caboose cushion. My idea is much better summed in a hotel where not having a mint on the pillow is roughing it. Now I am by no means a girly girl, but the idea of sleeping in a tent is not “relaxing” and setting the tent up was a real treat. So we get the whole thing set up and staked down and I set up the air mattress for myself and the girls only to realize what some planning could have done. I had no light and it was very dark so I spent much of my night moving about and checking on everyone with the light on my phone. I can not say I didn’t enjoy it by the end, but it really proved that when Cindy calls me an uppity bitch she may not be to far off.
Camping leads me to horse shows and the possibility of finding some who may not accept me. I am ok with this, but I worry that Jess would get the talks or teasing and not I. Fortunately I know a guy everyone calls the “gay cowboy” and he was able to give me some tips on how to be involved. I have also spoke with Jess’s 4H leader and know that on her end it will not be an issue. I still have my fears, but life will go on just like the next scene in the play of life
This brings me to Sunday. Every year my father and I go to the All Ford Nationals in Carlise PA. We started a few years back and we have never missed since. This year was a bit more difficult for me as I dropped out of the car club I was a part of because of my transition. I still have some of them on FB but for the most part I removed myself from the whole scene and I only told 3 people why I left. It tore me up to be sure. I seen the pictures of them all having fun and I was thinking how I could never belong. I viewed myself as the kid that would be last picked for kick ball. I was wrong. Most of the ones I loved talking to before still talk to me and a few of the main people in the group said it was a non issue. So it made me wonder about my own short comings and how little I really know about others or myself.
I spent years withdrawn and hiding from the person I am today. I feared a future full of bullying and teasing of my children and family. I spent many sleepless nights trying to find who I was and many years avoiding most anything that could trigger me into a depressive episode. I worried to the point that it made me sick, not only physically but mentally. I worried about everything. I was not much of a person to live around nor was I any sort of friend or spouse. I was broken.
I had lost myself in a sea of nothing and a wave of words I would never hear. I also lost my childhood to the depression. I lost friends, moments, and experiences. I lost most of who I could have been just dealing with dysphoria in the dark. I couldn’t admit that I was transgender and never foreseen a day when I could just be me. Sure we may lose some things, we may give away some things, or we may walk away from things we love just to find ourselves. Let me tell you that for what I have lost, I have gained so much more
I gained honesty, integrity, and truths I could never say. I have friends some could only dream of. I have a family who has never left, even in the worst times. I have a life that is worth living. I have a great job, and a great hobby. Most of all, I gained my life. I have found an outlet that is not for myself but for others. I found my voice in the darkness and my strength when I was weak. I found acceptance and joy. I have found myself and no one can ever take away who I truly am, not anymore. I have freed myself from the lost and found in my own life.
I guess Socrates was right when he said an unexamined life in not worth living and after examining my own life, I found not what I lost but what I missed in the darkness.
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