Archives for the month of: July, 2012

Donna Louise here sitting at my computer after having breakfast. Pancakes sounded good this morning so I made some. My usual breakfast is an egg, two strips of turkey bacon and a piece of whole wheat toast. I drink a small glass of orange juice and a big cup of Irish Breakfast tea before I face most days. Today I decided to eat outside the box.

As we parted company last Saturday, Giselle said, “Please call me Gil from now on. It will make it easier on you as I transition. If anyone asks, we can say it’s your pet name for me. Would you do that for me?”

“Sure, Gil.” Now if I can only remember the new name.

Michaela hugged and kissed me on the cheek. “You’re the best. Thanks for being with us on this adventure.”

Guilt crept into my heart as I’m not sure I’m onboard for the trip yet. What about it bothers me so much?

The closest incident that made me this angry occurred when I was seventeen. My childhood boyfriend Louie, who’d always been the man I planned to marry, called and asked me to go to the lake with him. I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough. He’d been acting funny, kind of withdrawn and depressed, but he wouldn’t talk about it.

He picked me up and I had this new, two-piece swimsuit which I thought made me look kissable at the very least. We parked the car and walked to the beach where we spread out our blanket and towels. After a short swim, we plopped down on the beach to brown in the summer sun. He didn’t say a word.

I asked, “What’s wrong with you? You seem so depressed.” I heard what I thought was a gulping sound like a drowning person makes. He was sobbing and gasping for air. I pulled him to a seated position and took him in my arms. How romantic to hold your boyfriend when he’s crying.

When he regained control of himself, he pulled away from me and said, “I’m a homosexual.”

I tried to talk him out of the idea for totally selfish reasons. He insisted he knew what he was. “Why can’t you let me be who I am?”

“Because I think you’re wrong.”

“No, I know what I am. If you don’t want to be friend anymore, just tell me. Okay?”

I got all righteous and jumped to my feet. “I’m not that kind of friend. If you’re a homosexual, I’ll still be your friend.” Even as I said it, I wasn’t sure what I said was true. I wanted Louie back the way he was before he told me.

We talked a couple of hours. He told me how he had suffered, but never once asked how I felt about the revelation. Okay, I was focused on how I felt, but I was only a teenager.

He dropped me off at home. I watched him drive away with a big piece of my broken heart. I walked up the steps to the porch and slammed the screen door several times. Mama appeared in the doorway. “Have you lost your mind? You’ll break the screen.”

I looked at her and burst into tears. “Louie is a homo and I hate him.”

She opened the door, put her arm around my shaking shoulders and led me over to the swing. We sat down and she said, “You go ahead and cry all you need to and then we’ll talk.” And that’s what I did—soaked the shoulder of her dress with my tears.

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Donna Louise here pondering the weirdness of life. I think of myself as flexible, open-minded and welcoming of change. Then some situation like Michaela’s and Giselle’s comes along and I’m nearly deafened by the doors of my mind slamming shut.

Before I said anything about the situation, I attempted to corral my thoughts. What difference did their sex changes make to me? None. I wanted them to be happy, but did I want to be comfortable more than I wanted them to be happy? Could I be both? But, again, what business was it of mine? So, I did what I always do in confusing situations:  excused myself and headed for the ladies’ room.

I sat in the stall and argued aloud back and forth until I couldn’t stand it anymore. When I opened the door, two women and three drag queens waited for me. 

“Excuse me,” I said as I walked to the sink.

 One of the drag queens asked, “Well, what did you decide about your friends?”

 That ticked me off. “Were you eavesdropping?”

 She took a step back and raised her hands, palms out, to keep me from getting in her face. “Honey, eavesdropping means you have to strain to hear someone. You were arguing like those dumb ass bitches on Fox News.”

Those were fighting words. You can call me all kinds of things, but never, ever compare me to anyone on Fox News. Fortunately I’m a pacifist and a Buddhist wannabe. I closed my eyes and released my anger with a big sigh.

One of the other drag queens put her arm around my shoulder. “It’s difficult when people we love change. We wonder what that means to our friendship and to us. Tell them you’re afraid and then hightail it to the public library. Read every book on transsexualism and by transsexuals you can get your hands on.”

“Why?”

She squeezed my shoulders. “So they don’t have to answer your stupid question about the process. It’s hard enough to go through something life changing without leading everyone else along too. Make it easier for them—and for yourself too. Educate yourself. As Shirley MacLaine said, ‘Fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.’”

I returned to the table to find them holding hands.

Giselle spoke, almost in a whisper. She avoided my eyes. “We’ll understand if you don’t want to be friends with us.”

That hurt. What kind of friend runs away during difficult times?

I said, “I’m afraid of what these changes mean to our friendship. Will I lose one or both or you?”

Michaela took my hand in hers. “I can’t say for sure. I don’t even know what this process means for my life, but I think we can figure it out—if we can talk about our feelings. You in for the journey”

I almost cried. “Yes, I’m in, but I gotta make it to the library before they close at 5 p.m.”

In unison they asked, “Why?”

“I need some books to read on the journey.”