If I had to name the god of Dallas, I would name it Nature.
RIP OFF THE BANDAID
The problem with blogging for a living and using your life as the financial fuel for your ministry is the public lens you put yourself under. I had people reading The Inner Kingdom’s blog in all 48 contiguous states and multiple countries by the time everything ended in 2016. I didn’t think I could just fold up my tent and disappear. I had lived publicly when life was good so it felt right and true to do a blog post announcing that I was batshit crazy and that my marriage was ending.
I also just wanted to rip off the bandaid and be done with it. I didn’t want to have 10,000 conversations. I didn’t want my life to be ruled by other people’s hushed whispers. I didn’t want any more fucking secrets.
I let Carrie proof the blog post before I published it… I wanted her to see that I wasn’t going to villainize her. As she finished reading the blog post, she looked at me and said, “You have your book.”
Did I? Was this my book? I knew that The Field Guide of American Men had never felt like my book. It had felt like an obligation to plan it and I usually started drinking as soon as I sat down to write it.
Was my life the book?
WRITING ABOUT MY JOURNEY
There’s a button in the Truman Show that says “How’s it going to end?” It’s the reason everyone watched the reality show about Truman’s life… how was it going to end? Would it be a tragedy? Would it be a comedy? Would it be a hero’s journey? Who knew?
This series of blog posts started as my personal twist on a suggestion from my therapist. She told me I needed to find my personal narrative again. I had completely lost the plot of my life and was flailing around in search of a purpose. One day, I opened Word and started writing about my journey of discovering I was transgender as well as my experiences with spirituality. I then copied and pasted the writing onto my blog and added pictures and hyperlinks.
60,000 words later, I can see that Carrie was right. I have my book and –surprise– you just read it.
The book might be over but, like the button from The Truman Show, I don’t really know how the story is going to end.
Is this a cautionary tale of a Christian who gave themselves over to sin? Is my life proof that god is as angry and vindictive as so many of you fear that he is?
Is this yet another story of a repressed member of the LGBTQ community imploding in true Drama Queen fashion before they explode out of their closet in an orgasm of glitter with perfectly tweezed eyebrows?
Is this the story of a selfish asshole?
Is this the story of a flawed human?
How the hell should I know and why are you asking me for your answers?
I DON’T KNOW
People always wanted me to spoon feed them the answers and I didn’t like doing that. I felt God’s pleasure when I asked the question, not when I gave the answer. I took my cue from spiritual teachers all over the world with true depth: they didn’t do the work for other people. They posed questions, they taught in metaphor and parable, and they modeled life. They left people frustrated and they were wise enough to leave that tension in the air.
So, that’s the roundabout way of me saying that I don’t know what you’re supposed to take away from my story. A bunch of shit happened. A lot of it was really, really beautiful. A lot of it was really, really horrible. I’m trying to hold on to all of it and fit it all in.
It’s all supposed to belong.
The beautiful moments with Carrie are supposed to live side-by-side with the ways we lied to and betrayed each other. The church that gave me so much hope and that I invested years of my life in also cast me aside and I lied to them for over a decade about who I was. I fucked up my kids’ lives and I’m a good parent. On my bad days I’m an apathetic atheist and on my good days I’m still a recovering evangelical.
It all belongs.
SO BE IT
One of my coworkers walked up to me at the Whole Foods in Uptown and asked me, “Are you a fucking idiot?”
I normally don’t let Atlanta Falcons fans talk to me like that, but this dude was cool, so I asked him what the hell he was talking about.
“That woman wanted you to ask for her phone number, man!”
I had no idea. I just thought she was one of those sickeningly-nice, pageant-boob-and-fake-eyelashes Dallas women. She was apparently all flirty-nice-gooey-eyes and clueless me was all get-the-fuck-out-of-my-store-so-I-can-start-my-cleaning-list. When you spend your entire adult life with one woman, you don’t know what flirting looks like. That’s part of why I laughed my ass off at the new Jumanji movie when they were teaching a woman how to flirt.
Plus, being Trans makes flirting in real life hard. Would they still be flirting with me if they knew I was wearing a camisole under my work shirt? Would they still want me to ask for their number if they knew I had a bigger makeup bag than they did? I’m pretty sure that the answer would be “no” so I lean on dating apps to try to connect with women.
I’ve been on six dates since my marriage ended. On the first two, both women told me they weren’t into Transwomen… I was like “what the fuck are we doing here?!” but one of my lesbian friends explained to me that they were just scared to admit that they wanted to experiment or that they were ashamed to find Trans people attractive. (Oh yeah, there’s a stigma attached to them, too. People think that a woman attracted to me must be super kinky or messed up in the head.) The middle two dates were nice but they just weren’t a fit. Plus, it was too soon. I kept comparing all of these people to Carrie… except for the writer who spoke French. Swoon. I just wanted to lay my head in her lap on a blanket in a field, close my eyes, and have her read poetry to me en francaise. It didn’t matter that I don’t speak enough French to understand what she would have read to me. (She spoke one French sentence on our date so I guess I’ll have to make due with that.)
The two dates I’ve been on in Texas were OK. The first one was, without a doubt, the funniest woman I’ve ever met… but I was firmly planted in The Friend Zone with her. Plus, her temper kinda scared me. The most recent one was the quirkiest women I’ve ever met. She liked to do ‘shrooms while she made out with people so she could stare into their souls. I didn’t like the idea of the ‘shrooms but it’s been a long time since I’ve been to First Base so I considered the option for a day. She Friend Zoned me, too… that might have been one that worked out in my favor.
Ultimately, I guess I’m just trying to let go of all the expectations and drama surrounding dating.
If I die alone because I’m transgender, then I die alone. So be it. Maybe I’ll get a bunch of cats and be a Crazy Old Trans Cat Lady …but, if someone wants to Jennifer-Lawrence-from-Silver-Linings-Playbook me, I’m open to that. 😉
For now, I’m just trying to focus on myself and on my immediate, practical steps in life. I can worry about getting to First Base or buying a bunch of cats later.
IT GIVES ME HOPE
I’ve been living with my parents in a suburb of Dallas for a little under a year. I’m still searching for a full time job that will pay me enough to afford an apartment of my own as well as pay Child Support. (Housing in DFW is more expensive than Lafayette and the State of Louisiana apparently doesn’t care that I didn’t want a divorce & walked away from 18 years of marriage with nothing.)
I Skype with my boys as often as I can. It hurts like hell every time I call them and it hurts like hell every time I hang up with them. I see them on holidays and summers. It is heaven on earth when I get them in my car and drive to Texas with them. It is hell on earth every time I drop them off at their mother’s house. I apologize to them for telling the truth and ruining their lives every time I drive them home. My therapist asked me if I was apologizing to them or to myself. Both, I guess?
Carrie and I are working really hard to be nice to each other since we have kids together… she’s better at that than I am. I still have my moments when I let the anger and betrayal suck me under the surface… but I’m only going to get through this mess by forgiving her and keeping my side of the street clean. So, I try. And I apologize to her a lot. And I pick up a lot of trash that I’ve strewn all over my side of the road.
I’m still sober. It turns out that when you aren’t repressing who you truly are, you don’t feel the compulsion to drink every day.
I love God’s creation. It speaks truth and love to me on a regular basis. Plants blow me away with the deep wisdom they possess. I was given a succulent at Trauma Camp and I still have it. It’s one of my most prized possessions. It’s grown well in Dallas and it gives me hope every time I look at it.
I don’t plan on going to church again. I’d love to be wrong about that statement but I cannot suffer being treated like a leper. My journals from the last two years have one line in them over and over again, “God, I love you but your Bride is a bitch.” I still live by the teachings of Jesus. His modeling of unconditional love, non-violent aggression, and generous living have changed my life and have the potential to change the world.
I’ve still never left my home dressed as a woman. I have three sons looking to me for inspiration and guidance as they grow into Manhood, so I hold back for them. I also hold back because I’m scared shitless of how people would react to me with blue hair, eyeliner, boobies, and painted nails. I’m not strong enough to take on their hate yet… and I’m thankful for those of you that wouldn’t hate me.
Read the final chapter: An Epilogue