As a young boy not quite eight years old, I set off to run away from home. My mother had made me eat cole slaw and forbid me to watch my favorite superhero, Wonder Woman. I had had enough, so I started packing. I found my mom’s curler carrier. It was one of those hard brown leather cases with the mirror attached to the top. With my mom’s curler box emptied of all her plastic curlers, I replaced them with all my Star Wars action figures, my Evil Kenevil and Fonzie dolls, and a few other prized possessions. I fixed a PB&J sandwich, and then hit the door running.
I was so upset with my mother for forcing me to eat that nasty slaw. As I walked towards the drainage ditch, it hit me. Who would feed me? Where would I sleep? How would I get to school? I sat at the ditch and ate my PB&J and contemplated my future. I realized, even as a small child, that I was running from problems that weren’t as large as the ones I was running to.
That episode happened 27 years ago. That boy at the drainage ditch isn’t quiet a boy anymore. He isn’t even a man. That boy is a woman, or at least she is on her way.
I had to go through an alcoholic father and his death at age 11, two divorces and custody battles and a long internal battle accepting my transsexuality. My second ex-wife, Lynn, denied my visitation when it was clear that I was transitioning and wasn’t going to hide it.
Last year it became apparent that I wasn’t going to be allowed to see my kids. I sank further and further into a horrid depression. I didn’t leave the house for weeks. One Sunday, I put my resume on Monster.com and came home to 15 calls from recruiters. One call was from the DC area. The recruiter connected me to a job not far from DC in Fredericksburg, VA. In an all too familiar scenario, I packed a suitcase and flew to DC to interview.
The interview went great, and I rushed a move. I threw my sound equipment, computers and my clothes in my rented 2002 Mustang and drove away from Indiana feeling free. The company paid for everything, and finally my life seemed to be leveling out again…or so I thought. The $4,000 sign on bonus turned out to be $2,600 after taxes. My recruiter forced me into buying a car from them. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t pass Maryland inspection, and I was somehow coned into a lemon. So goes my second attempt to runaway.
Again, my world was beginning to unravel. The only difference was I was 600 miles from my kids and I left any support network that I had, back in Indiana. Waves and waves of questions hit me. How would I work things out from 600 miles away? Why did I move so quickly? Did I leave people that love me to run away from the greatest pain in my life? There’s no drainage ditch close to my apartment, and I no longer eat PB&J’s, but the questions hit me just as hard.
My life is different, but not any better. Running away to Washington DC hasn’t solved any of my problems. Like that little boy standing at the drainage ditch, I have realized I need to go back and face my problems…not run from them. No one else is going to solve my problems for me. If I don’t, no one will. My heart hurt so badly at the trauma of my divorce and the ensuing drama that began once my transition was announced. Sticking my head in the sand isn’t going to get me any closer to transitioning fully, having FFS or SRS, or gaining closure to this part of my life.
As a child, I swallowed my pride, and walked back into the house and learned to live under my moms rule. As an adult, im moving back to Indiana to deal with the issues I buried when I left. Lynn has agreed to working on a resolution to seeing the kids, but that can only go forward if I move back. I have made contacts within the t-community in Indiana and hope to help them lobby local politicians for trans-inclusive legislation. I will continue to do my radio show “The T-Party” and write. The difference from before the move will be in my outlook and attitude. Some lessons really are worth learning twice.