Friday, September 30, 2011

30 Year Reunion: Before

So. Tomorrow, for the first time in 30 years, I'm going to be crossing paths with some of my high school classmates. Oh, to be sure, there are a handful I see around town regularly, and they have had reunions every 10 years though I was providentially hindered from attending the previous events. I'm quite intrigued, just on the most basic everyday level to see many of these people.

However, mine is not a basic everyday situation and there's a whole other layer of intrigue involved in this for me. There's no one in this group who has more than a passing acquaintance with the fact that I have transitioned. some of those who are aware (mostly via Facebook) have been very supporting and encouraging, a few others have been disturbed or disapproving. More than half have, as far as I know, no idea - or at the least have had no contact with me since. This both fascinates and slightly terrifies me.

It's true that many of them are, as I write this, together at the homecoming game tonight and it's safe to assume there might be some "head's up" warnings given, but I would not want to assume that I'm the topic of conversation. So I'm going in tomorrow with whatever nervousness might normally be associated with a reunion like this, and that squared and cubed. This is all the more unpredictable for me because I was, in my high school days (as might be expected for a person in my condition) pretty much a wallflower. I was not a part of the "in crowd" and frankly would have had no idea what to do if I was. I'll make no claim to know whether or not, and to what extent, people liked me. but I was not mistreated, at least not any more so than any overweight glasses-wearing bookworm anywhere in America might have been. I count the vast majority as friends. Even those who were people I would probably never have interacted with had we not been classmates.

But looking back, it's no surprise that I was not the most social animal. At the time I was still putting considerable effort into "acting the part" and between the guardedness which comes from hiding your status as a (supposed) "freak" and the unnaturalness of the behavior I was expected to exhibit, it's no wonder I came off as I did. With that said, the best times I remember were the moments when I did slip outside the conventional behavior one might expect. I remember having "girlfriends" (not of the dating sort) which, unbeknownst to them, sometimes made all the difference.Not to in any way disrespect the several guys who were good friends.

What is interesting now is that a couple of the people I was not close to then have become, since my transition, long-distance sisters to me, and people I can't wait to see, while on the other hand, a few of those who were closest to me then are uncomfortable with me now. On one level I understand this, but on another, it is a huge reminder that I am still, unavoidably, the "freak" - the one who makes this reunion unlike any they've seen before. The one everyone is unnecessarily nervous around. I can't tell you how I wish this were NOT the case.

I wish that I could, that it were appropriate, send a letter to everyone who will be there saying "relax, don't over think it."

What I would want to say is that it is ok to ask question, it is okay to be interested, it is even ok to politely say you are uncomfortable. But give me a chance. Get to know the real me - this person you have never really met before - lay aside the assumptions you might have, the things the radio preacher told you and what you saw on Jerry Springer and lets see what happens next. I have only one request: respect my identity. it is TAMMY, not ....that other name. It is "her" and "she" - not him. You don't have to AGREE, it's just common curtsey.   Otherwise, I prefer honesty and openness. I'd much rather half the crowd tell me they thought I was a hellbound sinner (or whatever) than to tiptoe around and leave me spending the NEXT 10 years wondering what you REALLY thought. Of course, I don't expect anyone will be anything other than very polite, but I'm guessing the names and pronouns will be a mess.

In any case, I just wanted to get these thoughts in print before hand - because I anticipate having more to say after and I think it's a good exercise to compare the results to the expectations. check back in two days.


Welcome to those handful of folks who have been reading my all too seldom blog posts, and a brief word of explanation for those any any others who may come here new.

Because I've abandoned the e-mail account associated with the previous blog (and because Google apparently won't let me change that) - along with some other considerations which I won't bore you with - I've decided to start fresh on blogging and, perhaps, follow through on my longstanding vision of focusing my gave outward rather than using this as a vehicle to wine about my current situation. That's not to say that none will be inward directed, indeed the first few posts will be just that, but I will try to make them about something other than "y'all feel sorry for me!"

Over time I will fill out the profile, and be re-posting here some of the posts from the other blog that I feel are worthy of being preserved. This post, and the two which follow, are new material, then you will begin to see the re-runs interspersed. Also, I do not promise this - but potentially there might be an occasional post of some creative fiction. I'm kinda of stalled in that area right now but I'd like to share things when I do have a good run.

Finally, I'm going to put this out up front - I make lots of typos (most notoriously, improper capitalization) because i don't type normally. And I despise through proofreading (though I do try to drag myself through it for blog posts) so don't be put off, if you can help it, if you notice such glitches.

thank you all for reading, now and in the future.