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Thursday, December 27, 2012

IT'S A LONG WAY to the TOP, IF YA WANNA BE A GIRL

So....I have not posted for a few weeks as I have been involved with quite a few holiday activities, volunteering and making new and wonderful friends on facebook. I am a Holiday Orphan, meaning I am left on my own for all Holidays and Family get-togethers. Being ostracized is a terrible thing, and I would never inflict it upon anybody, for any reason. It doesn't make me want to do anything to rebuild the burned and bombed out bridges. I loved these people, and they just shut me out 17 years ago, turning off their love for me , like it was as simple as a light switch. Anybody who can conditionalize their love for you so willy-nilly, is undeserving of any rebuilding of family ties. That's the way I feel about it now. I still love them all very much.

Christmas has come and gone. Our 24th Anniversary came and went, on the 17th. I was shot down in flames for wanting to take my wife out on a date, a week before. A few days later, she apologized, saying, "I was cleaning the piano and discovered the cats had been peeing on it, and I took it out on you, I'm sorry. Do you still want to go out Monday?" I said that, yes, I did. So we went out. I had been planning to come out to her over dinner, but the time never seemed right, and we were enjoying ourselves. The spirit told me to hold off on that. Later that week I was invited to a Birthday party, as Leah. I went, all dressed to the nines. I had a wonderful time conversing with my friend and making new friends, playing pool, and dancing, it was a blast. I got pulled into the ladies room several times, for refreshing our lipstick, even to borrow my lipstick, and to gab and gossip. I was just accepted as one of the girls, without question. It felt awesome, and very affirmational. To be looked upon and treated as the woman that I am, oh, what a feeling!

Just a few days earlier I had attended my monthly transgender support group and had a wonderful time in my red Christmas dress. Afterward we went shopping at some major department stores. I was surprised that no one reacted negatively, just a few long looks and smiles. I smile back, and get more courage every time. We went to Burger King to get 55 cent Whoppers. Then it happened. It was going to happen, sooner or later. I had to use the bathroom, and I was Leah. There was no hiding it. I had to use the Women's Restroom, for the first time. I was a little nervous, but I just walked right in. There was no one there, so it went smoothly. I came out and washed my hands, then a couple of women came in. They looked at me, and one said, "oh, I love your shoes, and your pearls." So, now I know, I will be okay if I have pretty shoes and bling. Ha!

Last Wednesday, was one of my Boards, Annual meeting. We were discussing many things and voting. One subject came up that we had been working on for a while, our Re-Branding and name change. It came up that we were really only voting on changing our public persona, our corporate name would stay the same. This was a big surprise to me, as we had been discussing this for nearly a year, and we had serious discussions with professionals during the summer. This dichotomy never came up, although my activity diminished in September and October because of my working on the Obama Re-Election Campaign. So I spoke up in opposition to the dichotomy and I likened it unto myself. I had no idea I was going to come out to my entire Board of Directors, but here I was, discussing myself. "I am Transgender. I am a woman. I am coming out, and in the transition process. I am living in this public persona as Bob, but this is a facade, my real self is Leah, and the sooner I get everything switched over to being Leah, the better. It is quite burdonsome being Bob and Leah, both a man and a woman. I voice my opposition to maintaining our corporate name as the same, in this vein. When we vote to re-brand, it should change our public and private name together." As I was saying that, and I said additional things, but that is the gist, the whole room slowed down. It seemed as if the entire Board was moving in slow motion, and I was the only one in real time. My senses...one, two, three, four, five...senses working over--time! I had acquired heightened awareness, and I could see each and everyone's full reaction to my coming out to them. Including, my CEO (whom I was already privately out to), who dropped her jaw, mouth agape, as were several others, many eyebrows raised. But all that was quickly switched over to smiles, and tears of happiness. The business of the Board carried on, and eventually the meeting was over.

After the meeting, everyone swarmed me, to give me hugs and congratulations. Everyone stated that they support me, and are proud and honored that I came out to them, and that I was brave to be my true self. One member asked, "what did you just say?" He is a prominent member of the community. He had no idea what transgender is, so I explained to him. The more I explained the happier he became. He gave me a bear hug, and said, "Now I don't ever want to see you in pants again. Wear your prettiest dress, and you be yourself." Then he proclaimed in a loud voice, "I have never been so proud to be a part of this Board!" He loves AC/DC, and Karaoke, and knows I do too, and he asked, "Will you still be singing,'It's a Long Way To The Top, If Ya Wanna Rock-n-Roll?" "In a Princess Dress!", I answered. To roaring applause and laughter. I felt On Top Of the World at that moment.

So, a lot of monumental firsts, for a transgender person, have been going on in the last 2 weeks. I have made three new friends on Facebook, that to me are monumental. These woman are so remarkable, and such a godsend, during my sad and lonely Christmas, that they have put me on cloud nine. They are not only as sisters, they are my sisters, my Sissy's , in fact. I love them dearly, and I want to thank them for finding me, and I am so grateful that I was given this opportunity to find you.

Just today, I was asked by another friend, to start a new facebook group for transgender Mormons and Allies. That is the name of it:  Transgender Mormons and Allies   Here is the link;
https://www.facebook.com/groups/450454028337645/https://www.facebook.com/groups/450454028337645/             I hope many of you will join this discussion group and be a part of it. We later will form a sister group to it that will have a focus on activism within and without the Church.

Finally, the Coup-de-Grat!  The Mother of all Coming Out events!  I have set a hard date for coming out to my wife!  Can you believe this? This is really happening. I am a girl, and she is going to be free to be herself. No more guile. At least this will go a long way to the greatest shedding of it. I have no idea what her reaction will be. I may be homeless in a few days. I may be told, "we already knew this". I will be coming out to my 3 daughters as well. They are age 23 (just yesterday), 21 (on Jan 6), and just 19 (Nov.3) home from BYU-Idaho, for the holidays. I am scared to death. I may be in for some time in hell. They may go straight to the Bishop, and get be in trouble, with my standing. I just don't know. I do know that this is the time and this is the place. No more lies!  Wish me luck please. I would appreciate any words of support you can leave as a comment for me.  Thank you so very very much, for being my friend, and reading my blog. I hope to see you again soon.

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwaanza, Seasons Greetings, Happy-Joyous Holidays, Happy Lucky 13 New Year, and everything! ;)

All My Love,

Leah










Sunday, December 2, 2012

WALKING ON THIS EARTH FINDING YOU: Why My Wife Leaving Me At Home From Church Led to the Discovery of a Beautiful Friendship

Those of you that saw my flailing facebook status this morning will know where I am coming from. I got left behind from going to Church this morning. Now this is a big deal to me, because I am a devout Latter Day Saint, and I hold attending Sacrament and all my meetings regularly in high regard. This is in spite of myself, and my entire family since childhood for that matter, being alienated, ostracized and despised. This is not something I take lightly, and is not something I exaggerate about. My family has always been treated in an inferior way, for real. This cannot be the fluke of living in a bad luck, or cursed Ward, as this has remained the case in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nebraska, Missouri, Kentucky, New York and Rhode Island. Anyway, I digress, as I am not intending to write about my displeasure at the way my family has been treated by my Church. My point is that I was highly distressed at missing Church today, because I love Church so much.

This has happened several times before, spread out over a 17 year period, maybe once a year or every other year. But this was something I had been planning for and looking forward to since election day. The Obama Re-Election Campaign needed me on the job for Sundays at a starting time that didn't allow me to attend Church. So this Sunday was my big Return from my Mission, so to speak. Mission Accomplished, I might add, for 4 more years. I was going to behave myself, and let the spirit guide my words at Fast and Testimony meeting (a meeting dedicated to showcase individual members fasting for 24 hours for a purpose of seeking guidance, direction, or answers to difficult questions, and any member can get up and bear their testimony in front of the congregation, usually 30 seconds to no more than 5 minutes, more commonly 1 or 2min). I was going to reserve my gloating for after Fast & Testimony meeting, when people would ask me how I did on the Campaign.

We always have left at precisely 8:30 am. This time, my wife decided to leave before 8:20 , which is when I left the basement, where I live, to go out to the car. Too late! The car was gone. This sent me on a whirlwind path of emotions, from anger to disappointment to dysphoria to edification and finally to happiness. I will focus on what led me to being edified and gaining a measure of happiness that I had no idea was coming my way, and didn't know I was deserving of. This keeps happening, and I could have written this several times in the last couple of months.

So, I went inside and immediately to the computer, which has been amazingly theraputic for me in the last few months since acquiring it. I got on facebook and started on my news feed, liking and sharing my usual upbeat, positive, optimistic and edifying photos and sayings, with a status update and emails thrown in. My thoughts were wandering, not fully focused. Then, out of the blue, there it was! A friendship offer from the other side of life...life on Planet Earth. This was no usual suspect country, or expected exotic land. This was a most unexpected, remarkable woman from a place I studied in College, but never knew anybody from. I'm ashamed to admit I had a low opinion of this country, even knowing it's rich history and culture. I really don't have a legitimate reason for my disfavor of this country, it's probably patriotism and xenophobia in minutia. I routinely rail against and chastise others for those traits, and abhor them in myself, even as microscopic flecks.

It was love at first site. I was and am smitten by her. She is foremost on my mind tonight, and I am driven to write about it tonight. But it's not just about infatuation with a new pen pal. A profound thing happened today. Well several. First, missing Church can be a blessing in disguise. I never would have meet my new friend, at least not in the remarkable lasting way I did, had I attended Church today. I am not going to feel guilty for missing Church, that is not an option anymore, I received way more edification today doing what I did, than attending Church. We exchanged pleasantries, and introductions, with a heavy slant toward me talking about myself. In this, I realized I am selfish, and hog the conversation. This is not ladylike, and something I want to change.

My friend was very willing to hear my story, and to explain who and what I am. She has incredible amounts of Love, Empathy, and Compassion. Those of you that know me, know that those are my 3 favorite things. She is so accepting, so kind, so flattering. I have had a whole in my heart since June, when my 2 best friends rejected and renounced their friendship with me over accusing me of taking money from their wedding gifts. Keep in mind I walked the Bride down the isle and was the Best Man. I was stunned, and devastated for weeks. That is finally over! Bygones! I have a new friend that fits perfectly in their place.

"Would you like to know something about me?" was the question on my screen, after several hours. I turned red with embarrassment. I hadn't afforded her the chance to reveal the difficulties and complications in her life. The more she revealed, the more I fell in love with her. She is a pure delight. We found that as impossible as it seems we have an awful lot in common between us. To top it off, she is perhaps the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. So you can see why I am happy tonight, and why I can't get her out of my mind.

I learned some things about myself too. I learned that for one thing, I have an incredible amount of love, and I am dying to share it with others. I am worth being loved by someone, and that someone will be richly reciprocated with the love I can give to them. Second, expect the unexpected. Unexpected things can happen at any time. Yesterday I liked and shared a photo, "I am ready for some blessings that are not in disguise." I shared it sort of flippantly, never expecting it to come to actual fruition, especially not in less than 24 hours. And oh yeah....what happened today, was most definitely a blessing that was 'out of the closet' and in your face...well, my face, at least. And lastly, and perhaps, most importantly, I learned that we should never dichotomize the globe. That is to say, the outdated, unenlightened, and outright bigoted ideology of allies and axis' of so called 'evil' is in fact evil itself. This judgement that we pronounce with blatant disregard for the population of a country, is faulty thinking, and makes revolutionary change and enlightenment more difficult. In particular, this woman's homeland is every bit as valid as my homeland. My countries leaders have made a public point of demonizing the other country and its people, and one party has made a platform out of bombing its people, if fact, a propensity to want to bomb all the worlds brown people. I find it shameful that my own county has over 100 million people that finds that agreeable.

What a rewarding day, and wonderful surprise, a blessing  to meet such a wonderful human being, as the one I met today, from the other side of the Planet. Never forget that one person can make a difference, indeed, that one woman can change the world, and make it a better place. There is no doubt the World is a better place for her being in it. She brings a full smile to every part of my being. Today I am happy. Tomorrow, I will think about her, and I will be happy. To all those who personally have met her face to face, I salute you, for you have been touched by an Angel. I am utterly amazed that I am walking on this Earth finding you, my friend. I love you.

All My Love and Friendship

Leah-Laurelei
p.s. I dedicate this song and this post to me new friend, she knows who she is. May we always remember this day, and the friendship we formed. May we remember each other, always be friends, and be thankful that in all the people of the world, we walked on this Earth and found each other.  "Remember Me, My Friend" by the Blue Jays, Justin Hayward and John Lodge, of the Moody Blues.