Today, I’m in the mood to reminisce and wax philosophical. I’ve got two stories I want to share, separated by almost fifteen years from each other, and I think these will explain a lot about me as a person. Maybe too much, so consider yourself warned; that page cut is there to protect the innocent.
The first story starts when I was 14, and I was living in Devine, in the two-story house that would later become Wendy Stoffel’s home for The Lesser of Two Evils.
I was actually a more prolific criminal than Wendy, but on that day, I wasn’t aware of the fact that I was committing a foul deed. I walked out of the backyard, through the latched gate, and across the street to the Super S grocery store that was behind our house. I was going for a soda, but I’d just barely crossed the street when this guy grabbed my arm and started yelling at me about jaywalking.
Now, according to this red-faced blowhard, what I should have done was leave via the front door, and walk a full two blocks from my house, where the nearest stop sign was. (note: not the nearest intersection, which was right next to my house…no that’s too fucking easy.) Then, I could cross the street and walk back. To anyone who knows me for more than a week and listens to me talk, it shouldn’t be surprising that, even at 14, my answer was, “Get fucked.”
Well, Mr. Red-Face pulled out a badge and told me how he’s an off-duty highway patrol officer, and he wants to talk to my mamma. I snorted and told him, “Talk to her. See if she cares.” So I got in the cop’s truck, and he drove back around the two blocks so he could tell my mommy what I did. I apologize to Jeff Foxworthy, but in fact, my mother did not remove the cigarette from her mouth before telling the cop to kiss her ass.
For years, I thought Jeff had to be a distant relative who I just hadn’t recognized at family reunions. Because every single one of his “you might be a redneck” jokes applies to someone in my family, if not to me directly. Yep. So nice to know that I truly am a walking stereotype. Still, it does put things in perspective. Some people are meant to be rich upper crust folks, and some were meant to be SPAM-sucking trailer trash.
And sadly, I love SPAM.
I’m rambling. The point is, I never stopped jaywalking, and Mr. Red-Face saw me do it on many occasions. He just kept to himself after that.
Let me move ahead to the age of 28. I was in a rather bad place emotionally, but to be fair, I’d put myself there with self-destructive behavior that pushed everyone out of my life all at once. In the backwash of this mass exodus of friends, a voice came to me and said, Now that you have no friends and no family, there’s no one left to please. That’s the moment that I decided to stop pretending to be a guy, and I started my transition.
Most people don’t want to know the gory details of transition. I have an online acquaintance who brilliantly observed, “Transsexuals are like hot dogs. The more you know about them, the less comfortable you are with them.”
I find this is true. I mean, if you don’t think about a hot dog being trash meat and sinew ground together with emulsifiers, animal hair and rat droppings, you can munch a whole package of hot dogs and call them “great!” But once you know, you start moving up to expensive sausages in the hopes that they have higher quality control standards. (They don’t but I won’t spoil that fantasy for…er…sorry about that.)
And I guess the flip side of this analogy is, you can easily eat out a dozen post-operative transsexual hookers, but once you realize the clit you’re licking is the tip of someone’s dick, you start moving up to higher priced escort services in the hopes that you’re giving face to genetic women instead of giving head to a post-op woman. (You aren’t, but…shit, I did it again! I’m really sorry about…yeah, no I’m not.)
I digress. I agree with her assessment, and I feel it’s best not to shock people just for the sake of shock value. (No, really) So I’ll be as a brief as possible. I went online and started doing research on surgery, and how much it was, and what kind of barriers there were to the procedure. The first hurdle was the hormones, which I would have to be on for a year. The other was that I needed at least one letter from a “qualified expert” to get the surgery.
I’m getting ahead of myself. To get hormones, I was theoretically required to see a psychiatrist for two or three months, to the tune of $2,000, and then get his permission to see an endocrinologist, spending another $350. He would take blood tests and force me into taking whatever hormones he felt comfortable prescribing, and not take into account anything like the latest research on estrodiol or progestogens.
Fascinating side note: did you know that those media reports saying hormone replacement therapy causes dementia were based on tests using only horse hormones derived from URINE? Oh yeah. Premarin is short for “Pregnant Mare Urine.” Yummy! Human estrodiol beta-17, which is what most women in this era use for hormone replacement therapy, hasn’t been tested yet. They could mention that in the media reports, but saying dangerous shit like “hormones make you crazy!” sells more newspapers. Oy. (I take human estrogen, BTW. No pregnant pony pee for me, thanks.)
I’m wandering, but the point is, it’s the same thing. An authority figure tells me, “No, you cannot just go online to that overseas pharmacy and order hormones cheaply! You must spend all your time, energy and money being obsessed with being a tranny. Or else you’re not really serious.”
Say it with me, people: “Get fucked!”
I’m not really a lazy person, and in fact, at the time that I started hormones, I was working close to 50 hours a week. But I was just working a job as a projectionist, and I couldn’t afford to please the gate handlers with bribes. I just wanted to be done and living in some semblance of sanity. And besides that, if I gave the doctors all of my money, how could I ever go shopping for clothes and shoes?
I have a semblance of sanity now, and I’m trying to learn how to live at a more relaxed pace. But I still have this knee jerk reaction whenever people tell me that I have to do anything a certain certain way, lest I somehow displease society at large. Call it passive-aggressive behavior, or call it me being a bitch. But 9 times out of 10, when presented with this kind of scenario, my answer is usually the same.
There is that 10th time, when I didn’t say “Get fucked.” When people tell me about the rules of the writing business, I zip lip for once. I know, it’s shocking that a motormouth can do it, and I only last for an hour before I’ll explode from inactivity. Seriously, I talk in my sleep to relieve the pressure in my jaw. I can talk a politician to death. But I shut up to listen to writing advice.
That’s because this isn’t the same thing as all the other situations. For one thing, I’m trying to offer my stories to society at large. I want to please people enough to get them to read my stories. It’s not wise to ignore their preferences then, is it? There really is no shortcut across the street to get to the readers. You can go sideways and get to a printer, but that still leaves you on the same side of the street, screaming at people to come to you and buy your stuff. It doesn’t work like that. The mountain isn’t coming to Mohammed, so to speak.
I’m not a lazy person, and I bust my ass writing almost every day. When I’m not writing, I’m usually doing research, or I’m reading. I work all the time. But, for whatever reason, I’m not at the level I need to be at yet. Until I am, whenever someone tells me about the right way to publish, I’ll smile and nod, and keep my mouth shut.
This is that one time when “Get fucked” just isn’t the right response.