Almost the entire time I’ve worked at my current grocery store, I’ve lived under the shadow of Covid-19. I have my squad of girls that was born at the beginning of the pandemic and they’re the only social connections I have. I’ve gotten text notifications over and over again about new cases of Covid-19 in my store and wondered if it was someone I knew. I’ve taken two vacations that I’ve affectionately called “Covid Burnout Vacations” in which I just stayed home and did nothing but recharge emotionally. Basically, as soon as my last relationship ended, I went straight into hiding. Social Distancing is all I’ve ever known during my time in the western side Plano.
For a long time in 2020 I fantasized about moving to Austin to get away from everything up here in Suburbia. In Austin I wouldn’t get stared at/laughed at/glared at/eyerolled at so much just for being transgender. In Austin I would be able to make a clean break from my time post-divorce and pre-transition. A few months ago I decided that Austin, while cool, isn’t for me. I was finally coming out of my Covid Low, of which we all have one.
I recently renewed my lease on my apartment. “It’s not like I’m going anywhere in the next year” was what I thought. I mean, it was just gonna be more quarantining so why waste the energy looking to move?! I live a block from where I work and that lack of commute is amazing. So, I signed the forms and committed myself to another year in Suburbia, the place I feel least at home in.
A week later one of my friends told me about an opening in his store in Uptown Dallas. I had commuted from Plano to the city center for about a year, so it’s a commute that I’m used to. It was a lateral move but Plano has never felt like home and this was a chance to put a firm end date on my time in Jesusland. The thing that excited me the most was that my friend had to hire a new team and it would be a chance for me to train people and cultivate their talents and abilities. So, I applied.
I woke up the day of the interview with a migraine. I was nauseated, weak, and felt like someone was squeezing my left eyeball, which I thought was weird because my migraines always feel like that but on my right side of my head. I powered through the migraine, apologized for being sick, and warned the panel interviewing me that I might be off because of the headache.
I got the job offer on my drive from the interview to work a shift at my current store. I walked into work with a smile on my face but the headache just wouldn’t stop and the nausea wouldn’t fade. The next day I felt the same. A lot of people in DFW have felt like shit recently because of all the pollen and mold in the air, so I chalked it up to allergies. Friday, my second day in a row off of work that week, I got a flat tire on my way to the grocery store. I put the spare on my car and was completely gassed… I mean completely. I was dripping sweat. I was panting. I felt light headed.
After the grocery run, I went straight to the walk-in clinic for a rapid covid test. It was the usual shit I deal with in Plano. People behind the counter chuckled about me being trans. The doctor walked in, asked me if I was having any other symptoms, then walked out, and I heard the staff laughing… apparently she hadn’t encountered a transwoman out in the wild so she made up an excuse to come in and look at the freak. Ten minutes later she walked back in and said, “Your test is positive.” She gave me some paperwork and left. I was so stunned at the result that I didn’t care about the offensive bedside manners of the doctor. I forgot to ask how much money I owed them. I just walked out with my paperwork.
I’m “done” with Covid-19, meaning that I can smell about half of what I normally smell and taste about 3/4 of what I normally taste. I get winded easier at work but I’m almost back to normal with my energy. The big thing is that I’m immune for the next 90 days and I’ll get my vaccine before that immunity ends. This pandemic is finally over for me. I can get back to writing in coffee shops, visiting the DMA, and sitting in public spaces to people watch. I’m grateful for the week and a half of quarantine because it gave me a lot of time to think. It was almost like a retreat.
I’ve made peace with being single and alone.
Before my quarantine I tended to catastrophize my singleness. I couldn’t find love… and it was horrible. I might die alone… and it was a nightmare. I brought that energy to my dating attempts last year and, looking back, I cringe at how needy I was. Being stuck with myself for an extended period of time helped me see that I’m a kind of cool bitch to hang out with. I try to lift up the people around me. I work hard to help people around me have easier days. I cook damn good meals for people. I love my kids passionately. If I was describing another woman, I’d say that I want her in my life… and I want this lady in my life, too. I have a date tonight but it feels… different. I’m not anxious. I’m not euphoric at the thought of a woman loving me, like it’ll fill some void in my life. I’m happy but, if nothing comes of this date other than a great conversation, a peck on the cheek, and feeling desirable, that’s ok.
I have myself and that’s enough.
I need to get back to my transition.
Speaking of myself, realizing that I’m done with Covid-19 means that I’ll be living in a maskless future soon and swimsuit season is right around the corner as well. I’m sick of shaving my tits and having a junior high moustache remaining from my laser hair removal on my face. I made the decision to be a little selfish with Moneybagg Joe’s stimmy. I have electrolysis this Wednesday and I’ll likely not have to shave my face ever again after that! I have laser hair removal on my chest and belly Thursday. It’s weird being topless in front of the lady who zaps me but she’s a great conversationalist and she said my breasts have really filled in. I tell her that I can tell she’s a compassionate and empathetic woman and I admire that about her. Real Bitches lift each other up.
It’s time to commit to DFW being my home.
I’ve always felt transient in DFW. There’s an end date of my time here. It’s when my youngest son graduates high school in 2026. I dream of living further west, out where there’s mountains and deserts. Also, I’m not some pretentious Dallas Blonde. I’m not a $30,000 Millionaire. I don’t give a fuck what label is on my purse, what car I drive, or any of the other materialistic bullshit too many people here care about. I’ve pushed against seeing myself as part of this city from the first time I recognized its identity. Being stuck in my apartment for the last year hasn’t really helped me see myself as part of this metro, either.
It’s time to stop doing that. I mean, the city has my goddamn name, right?! The Dallas Blonde is only one of its identities. There’s great parts of the metro like Oak Cliff, where my lil’ hipster heart pitter patters. 2026 is a long way away. I want to be sad when I leave here like I was when I left Houston almost twenty years ago. If I see myself as a tourist for the next five years that won’t happen. It’s time to be here in my heart.
So, to recap, I got Covid-19, and all I got out of it was a temporary loss of taste and smell & the ability to love myself more. I mean, I can’t even smell my B.O. or a hot snake, so the loss of smell is kind of a win. Not too fucking shabby.