Am I Old? or I Am Old!

I look down at the bruise on my arm, I haven’t the faintest idea where it came from or what caused it, which speaks to several points. First, that it looks like my mothers arm when she was older and secondly, things like this never happened when I was younger.

If you asked me how old I am I would say 39. That is how old I feel. I’m attracted to women for the most part and they all seem to be about 39 or close to it, just coincidence? The calendar has another idea, it shouts out that I’m 64, when I insist that can’t be true it begins to roll through the milestones of my life my marriage at 28, birth of my daughter at 32, the jobs, the moves from city to city, each with its corresponding year attached. I add them up again and again, the result always comes out the same.

My mind still resists the facts. If they hold true then I have missed most of my life. Now that I have finally found the courage to live the life I deserved, time is running out. There is so much I want to do, so much I want to experience as the woman I am. Experiences that I was always denied. I want to be in love, I want to be desired, I want to be cherished as the feminine soul that I am.

All that came before this time was akin to a prison sentence. Time stretching out before me without an end, a time to simply be endured. Now is the prize to be savored, but as much joy and satisfaction as I draw from this moment and as insistent as I have been about never wasting precious time on regret, it appears that it is not possible to keep the “what if” questions from arising. It is such helpless feeling, there is simply nothing that can be done, no way to redo the past, no way to recapture my lost youth. It is not only the youth that escaped, I would not go back to my childhood as it was, that is not what I long for. I long to go back to my childhood that never was.To have grown up as the woman I knew I was, but when I was young, this metamorphosis was not even a remote possibility, there wasn’t any sense in dreaming for something that could not ever going to happen, but….

Things change, people change, society has certainly changed. I now live my life as I should have lived it all along, however so many things are pinned to points on life’s timeline. I struggle to accept that those days are long gone. Proms, college, weddings, the milestones of a life as a woman. I can only watch as others move through life’s events  and hope that they are as appreciative of their good fortune as I know I would have been.

What really hurts are those years when these changes were possible, when I knew they were possible and yet I still could not muster the courage or the will to commit to that first step. That ten  years feel like they belonged to me and I feel now as if I squandered them. If I could only have those years back, but there is no bargaining for such things, leaving me to grapple with the question,

Is what I can have going to be enough?

If not what then?




Reflections on a Trans Woman’s Passing

In Memory of Brynn Kelly

I cry because I never met her
I cry because I knew her so well
She is the sister I never had
Her death, leaves me an only child

I could not have imagined her pain
Though I live some of it every day.
Her loss is felt by us all
Yet how anonymous her passing

I cannot understand why she could not go on
Although at times I feel exactly the same
The reasons are always the same
Even though we each claim them as our own.

She was a writer, accomplished at her craft
Yet unable to rewrite her own story.
What happens to all of her words?
Composed yet uncommitted to paper

Did they cease at her passing
Have they been lost to the world?
Or do they exist somewhere in the ether
Waiting to be discovered

Was there a time that day when just the right word
Spoken at just the right moment, in just the right tone
Could have rewritten the ending of her tragedy
Turning it into just another bad day

So much we will never know

An Extraordinary Price


For Transgender Day of Remembrance


They paid with their lives, for someone else’s unease
That the rage of a bruised ego,
Could only be repaid in kind with bruises dark and angry
That your damaged swagger demands to be healed
With a balm of blood, sticky and warm
That embarrassment could be fatal,
Defies understanding
From a maniac’s lust to destroy those apart
To those that find joy in the suffering of others
The dangers of this world are real
Real as the feelings that compel us to be,
And to be the persons we are
For rewards that seem elusive and a future unclear
We risk consequences, unforgiving and everlasting
We brave all this and a thousand other slights and indignities
In a quest to arrive finally at life of authenticity
The journey long, So many fall by the wayside
Each year the list of lives lost to hate and despair
Grows longer and longer
Each week brings news of another lost and then yet another
Each year we lament their lives cut short
We cry for the loss of their voices from our chorus
Each year we speak their names, remember their faces
And vow never to forget.

Life and Loss of a Transgender Woman

I should be writing my biography for the volunteer organization website but I’m trying to deal with something that I thought I was over with. so… I usually deal with these things with words although I’m accused of oversharing and sometimes it comes back to bite me but I do it anyway because for me it works

Last weekend was the first time I was ever going to stand at a microphone in public, This was poetry, something that has exploded in my life as of late. I always knew it was there but never realized what comfort I could draw from the right collection of words in just the right order, but I digress…

I had made no secret of how important this was going to be to me, I had posted it on facebook and was rewarded at the venue by the appearance of a number of my friends showering me with love and support. I didn’t expect to see my daughter, she does live in Wilmington after all, and so I didn’t give it a second thought. What changed was her post the next morning showing the frost on the mountain at her new home in Mars Hill. I was absolutely crushed when I realized she was less than a half hour away.

The sense of loss that trans people generally deal with leaves us susceptible to slights both real and imagined. I took this personally and dragged it as baggage to my therapist appointment a few days later. I spent the better part of an hour crying and trying with her help to find a way to get past this. She suggested I call my daughter and tell her how it affected me, I thought I would actually do it in a letter because I’m better with words on paper, but before I could do either she called me.

I told her how disappointed I was that she was here but didn’t show at the open mic, which would have meant so much to me. Here is where I get to the crux of the matter, she said that she couldn’t come because she was here with my ex-wife. I said they should have come together. She said, well she didn’t say anything exactly, more like stuttering and mumbling and muttering. Her incomprehensible verbiage left no doubt that my ex would rather be stabbed in the eye with a hot poker than to ever be in the same room with me again. I think this actually applies to being in the same county, in fact if it wasn’t that our daughter lives 20 miles from here she would rather not be within a hundred miles of me.

Wow…. My ex and I were together for over 30 years, we have a wonderful daughter together. I have not laid eyes on her in 2 ½ years and not spoken a word to her in a year and a half. That she can hate me with such ferocity for wanting to live really shocks me. I really do believe that she would have been so much happier if I had simply had the decency to die or kill myself.

The poem I presented at the mic last week spoke of the loss of my oldest friend and how much it hurts to lose the people that we share our history with, the people that know our stories. There is no one in my life that I have had more stories with than my ex-wife, I thought that eventually she would get over her anger.

It is becoming abundantly clear that will not be the case, I do wonder if she tells new people she meets that I died a tragic death leaving her a poor struggling widow.

Welcome to the life and loss of a transgender woman.

P.S. – I want to make it clear that I understand and appreciate the difficult tightrope that my daughter is forced to walk between my ex and myself. I’m grateful for that which she shares with me.