Over the past several days I put 1,400 miles on my trip for a "quick" trip to Miami to spend a couple of days at the boat show there. It rained the entire way down. Friday produced the most rain they've had in Miami in any single day this year so we spent our time at the Convention Center, and yesterday - well - it was beautiful so we spend it visiting the Sailboats. That was the main reason for the trip.
I've never been to a boat show before. At least, not a show like this one. It was huge. It filled the entire Miami Beach Convention Center, and covered two of the large Marinas. I have no idea how many thousands of people typically attend these things but it was sufficiently overwhelming to this admitted neophyte.
The reasons of the trip were twofold. One was to gather as much information as possible from our couple of days at the convention. We had a blast in that regard, and came back with lots of information and we made many good connections.
The second was simply to adventure together - doing things I doubt each of us would do alone. We had a blast in that regard, as well.
An unexpected result was being reunited with a very dear old friend. My friend, Amanda, was the first trans woman that I met in Phoenix. I was introduced to her through our electrologist, Maria, who continues to be a dear friend for both of us. Maria had a knack of connecting transitioning girls with others she thought would make good friends, and she was generally dead-on in her connections.
Anyway, I'll never forget getting Amanda's phone number and giving her mine, and hearing her leave me a voice message in my little apartment. We grew to be good friends, and she eventually even moved in with me for some period of time. She was a beginning activist, and I remember many a conversation of my belief that my own path would not lead me in a similar direction. I could not have been more wrong.
Eventually Amanda met a girl, and the two of them moved out of state. We lost touch with her for years. Until last year.
So, it has been a dozen years since I have seen her. Until yesterday.
|Amanda and Donna - Reunited after a dozen years|
Our time together yesterday was relatively short. She was working the boat show, and although we planned on meeting for dinner I got a call from the hotel saying that I had left my iPad there when we checked out that morning so plans changed and dinner never happened. But I suspect our paths will cross again sooner rather than later - it will not be another dozen years before we meet up again. It is truly wonderful to reunite with people who played significant roles in our lives at some point later on. She will always be a "Big Sister" for me. And for that, I will forever be grateful.
I doubt many people stop to think about the importance of finding "big brothers" or "big sisters". Some stay in our lives for some period of time - others stay for a lifetime. But their impact never goes away.
I can name a half dozen people, or more, who played a role as a big brother or sister for me in those early days. And I suppose I've played that role for a number of little brothers and sisters, who have paid it forward themselves. I have come to understand that we are all part of a chain of learning and sharing.
Meeting with Amanda has made me a bit nostalgic, I think. As I get ready for bed tonight I have taken out some old photographs from those early days. I will do something useful with them - stay tuned for that.
I also have a unique proof sheet of shots we took the day we took perhaps my most well-known early photo, from 2003.
As the photo shoot progressed we got more and more playful, and by the end I wanted some shots while wearing a blazer and a pearl necklace, holding some roses, and nothing more. Here's one of the tame ones.
Although I think they're very tastefully done, I'd be lying if I didn't say that the most prominent aspects of the last of these black and white photos are my breasts. I'd love to share them because I'm not ashamed of them at all. At the time, it was a celebration of my body combined with the opportunity to do it in what I considered an elegant way....it's just that I'm not sure what would be "appropriate"....
Anyway - this boat show was a connection to both my past and my future. I can feel it. I don't know how many times things like this happen in our lives. So as special as the trip was in several ways - the true importance of it all will become apparent once some time has passed...
Anyways - back to this past weekend. I'm not feeling all that well - some sort of a cold that seems to be a result of my travels between Charleston and Raleigh. But I've been drinking tea, and taking Tylenol, and a certain someone took good care of me. I slept well and although it might sound like driving as far as we did and doing as much as we did in as short a period of time as we did is fairly dramatic we actually took it fairly easy. She's one of the only people I know who can keep up with me...indeed, can surpass me from time to time when it comes to pushing limits. But no limits were pushed here, and as I type this I've taken Tylenol PM and I'm drinking some tea - getting ready for bed.