Monday, August 29, 2011

Never Ends

I've talked about this before, but it has particular relevance right now.  Coming out never ends.  It happens again, and again, and again.  In my experience, it doesn't get easier.  If anything, it gets harder.

There's a fine line between having to share deeply personal information about yourself as your single most defining characteristic and retreating to the safety of a closet.  But for those of us who have seen comfortable, important relationships in our lives crumble under the weight of our disclosure it can become easy to become gunshy.  At the same time, NOT sharing is considered hiding or otherwise being less than honest.  It can easily become a lose-lose situation.

I broke one of my rules a couple of nights ago.  I created a series of 5 Rules during my transition a dozen years ago, and they have helped me through many a difficult, confusing time.  One of them is to "Be honest, with yourself and with others."  Well, a couple of nights ago someone asked me a question that I wasn't quite expecting and I said the first thing that came into my head.  It wasn't the truth.  In fact, if was a lie.  And I've felt guilty about it ever since to the point that I'm about to fess up to get back to being good with myself.

When I was a young teen I remember that I stole a pack of Football Cards from a local pharmacy.  I got halfway home before the impact of what I had done hit me.  I thought about how my parents would react if I had gotten caught, and how guilty it made me feel, and how this temporary "blip" in my morality was so not me.  So, I turned around, went back to the store, and put it back.  To this day - I'm glad I did.

Well, having the honest discussion that will happen over the next couple of days is my opportunity to "put it back".  It's my chance to get back to good with myself again.

I've had a number of "character" moments lately and while I'm happy with how I've reconciled most of them others of them are still in question.  This entire things about "telling" is one of them.  But one of the best things about this stuff is the fact that growing and learning, both for good and for bad, continues for as long as we let it.

One of the things I'm most thankful for is all the new people and relationships in my life over these last several months.  Living downtown here has been a Godsend of new opportunity.  For example, on any given evening down at the doggie park you can find upwards of 30 dog owners, all ages and types of people, standing around while our dogs have fun with one another.  Now that the weather is getting a bit cooler in the evenings it's quite the meeting place.  I have as much fun there as Maggie does.

Yesterday morning I did a 30-mile bike ride to the beach and back.  Going there never ceases to bring out my deeper spiritual self and yesterday was no different.  I take time to stop, breathe deeply, close my eyes and feel the warmth on my face, the sand in my toes, and the wind in my hair.  It is a time of connection and I continually leave there feeling better for having gone.

A special place - the lighthouse on Sullivan's Island

While some of these new friendships are seedlings others are changing, and still others seem to be fading.  That's neither good nor bad; change is change.  I consider relationships to be like tides - sometimes the tide will be in while other times it will not.  The strongest relationships aren't the ones that try to act like the tide is always in, it's the ones that survive the the various cycles over the course of time.

Today was my mom's 82nd birthday.  She's in Rochester to celebrate it with my brother and my sister.  Those are the relationships that I've truly come to cherish.  The support and love of my family.  No matter what the tides can bring my Family has become my safest of harbors.

I wish I could be there to celebrate with them this evening.  My mom's 70th birthday a dozen years ago today was the first family event that I attended as Donna, and the first time my brother met me.   Well - I'm celebrating with them in spirit.


Sophie Lynne said...

I've found Honesty is usually the first casualty in this. But (in my situation) dishonesty beats the alternative- for now.


Anonymous said...

Dear Donna,
Your writing is always comforting, and I'm glad to hear you are doing so well in SC. Sure miss you in PA though. Still hoping you pass this way some day. ...You know, our experience IS all about honesty and integrity, and your experience confirms it. I always consider one of my rules to live by: I never bring up my sexual history; but if someone should question it, my answer is always honest (without necessarily being considered TMI).

Stay safe, Donna! I'll never forget you, my friend!

Kerri :)