Tonight is an anniversary for me as well as Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving 2003 was one of the lowest points in my life. I had recently moved to Washington DC and had a one bedroom apartment that was baren. It had a bed (from the previous owner), a small kitchen table, and that was all for furniture. The previous year had seen me lose visitation to both my son and my daughter because I was trans. I was in a new city with very few friends. I had no one that I considered close enough to spend Thanksgiving day with. So I filled my day with laundry and prepped for my daily trans talk show. Somewhere in the middle of that I had a breakdown. I was crying, depressed, and really didn’t want to live anymore. Life without my children was something I could barely tolerate. The only thing that kept me alive was the memory of how I felt about my dad killing himself (he drank himself to death when I was 11). I thought my kids would rather have a transsexual father that they didn’t see than a dead one. In the pain of that moment I tried to find something to be thankful for. That day I wrote one of my first blog posts on Blogger.com. I said:
Kids, today is Thanksgiving, and by all rights, I have very little to be thankful for. I dont see you anymore, and I speak to you rarely. One thing I am thankful for is your existance. I hope someday that you can understand how hurt I am, and how much I do love you. I am a piece of trash that some want to throw away and act as if I don’t exist. I am, and will always be, your Dad.
I made it through that day and continued to struggle with depression and daily existence. But life did slowly get better (2004, 2008). Like a coronary artery bypass, the scars from my past won’t ever disappear. But I have healed.
Many things were the same today as they were on that day in 2003. I was alone, I didn’t have my kids with me, and I spent the day trying to avoid “Thanksgiving”. But it’s no 2003. I have so much to be grateful for. I have a wonderful life here in Madison. I have people here I consider family, an amazing job with fantastic coworkers, and an amazing son back in Indianapolis that is following his dream.
I am thankful every day for the people in my life. And I’m grateful that you are here to read this. I am blessed.