Just like Mulholland Drive if not infinitely more succinct, we drop ourselves smack dab into the middle of the show. It was January 29th and my first birthday party had just concluded hours before, when an AP article found its way onto the national wire. In which featured a transgendered writer for whom recently discovered herself, and a poem to which she penned about that epiphany.
A fascinating thing reading about someone you’ve only recently met. She spoke of the unhappiness and malaise that followed her like an unrealized sneeze. Uncomfortable and relentless in its persistence, it itched and pinched whilst never fulfilling its threat. Until that moment when quite by accident emerged not as a hurricane, but rather a sense of self. Of who she actually was, of who ‘I’ actually am. Far away from the guy she was told he was.
This was unlike any other birthday before, and it found me with the strength to tell my father and Stepmother the news. And just as the poem that had come to define me, I penned the tale of those three woman for whom in their unwitting ways bore out the lost voice within me. And this is that letter…
“Dad & Mom,
So it was my birthday Sunday and let me tell you it was the best birthday of my life! As you know I’ve endured so much hell over the years, and this joyous weekend could not have been predicted a year ago. Not because I had my first real birthday party on Saturday night where some 16 friends came out to celebrate along side me, but rather that they all came out knowing and supporting someone for whom I’ve only recently met. In short, times have been great these last months and they’ve found me a blissfully happy human being!
The reason Sunday was especially amazing was this. You see back in late November I wrote a poem. A poem about me. I submitted the poem along with a couple self portraits to an art exhibit in Dover New Hampshire. And on January 6th there was an opening gala and the place was packed! People loved it! It was a great night. Well a fellow artist and creator of the exhibit, Jeff Kramer was approached by the New Hampshire ACLU, (co-organizer) and asked if he or any of the artists were interested in sitting for an interview with the AP about their work. I said yes.
So last week I headed off to the studio along with Jeff and another artist named Christy, where we were interviewed and photographed. Pretty awesome! Well that article was published on my birthday! And a more perfect day could not have been chosen. It was picked up by a slew of online news outlets as far away as San Fran and here locally, including the Concord Monitor. So amazing!
My poem, along with the article (attached below) represents a culmination of a lifetime of walking around completely unaware. Living a life, yet not living at all. As so many, I just went through the motions from year to year. Always unhappy and forever alone. Life’s hell found me well. That is until June 2, 2014. A day to which there was no preparing for.
It was the day I met Robin. As accidental as life gets, she walked into a bar and into my life. And it was that Monday night where the story of me began. For the person I had been was quietly laid to rest without celebration or a song. Little did I know then the journey I had been invited upon.
So prior to that day I would have been the first person to laugh at anyone who would dare pronounce that true love exists. The existence of soulmates or that people are placed in our path just when we need them most. All of it, bunko! That night changed all that. Beyond anything else you have to understand that meeting her was watershed event for me. […] I had given up on life, and was reserved to live the rest of it alone and without purpose.
I’m convinced she was some sort of pixie send by angels to rescue a fellow soul. Somehow possessing the key to me, she just walked into my person and opened all the blinds and doors. Literally shaking me awake! “You’re an amazing person JT! The world needs you! and “I’m so happy to know you exist!” Who says this?!? And to me of all people? You remember my reaction when we met, I was beside myself in joy and possibility! And this new openness set into motion what would be a two year journey of person and self discovery.
We fell for one another, however looking back I don’t think she felt worthy of me, as she simply walked away. This chance meeting found me like one of those 3D children books, completely open and as vulnerable as a newborn. Remember all my goings on after that? The acting, the desire to move to Portsmouth, the new friends, everything! And as fate would have it this openness placed me into care of Alex.
We shared our most intimate life experiences that first night. We had both suffered so much pain over the years and our exchange became a sort of tether that led to a passionate love affair. And what would become a destructive bond that nearly killed me. Nearly killed us. Her person coupled with all manner of inconceivable would reduce me to ash over the next year and a half. Ask Heather about Thanksgiving 2015. I barely walked into the house as she came to great me, I fell over in tears. Alex had become the riddle that couldn’t be solved. One that in all honesty I’m still trying to process.
By Spring of 2016 I had finally worked up enough willpower and courage to make attempts to remove myself from that vicious cycle. And by blind luck I met Kimberly whilst shooting that video promo for the Spain walk. Remember that? Kim and I connected immediately. She’s a funny and outgoing sort like me, and we laughed like crazy! Kim was kind and gracious beyond measure. She took what was a shattered hulk and just as Robin some two years earlier, breathed life into me again.
Those three relationships changed me more than any event prior. And this includes some colossal foul ups throughout the years that led to the implosions that nearly ended my life. Those three souls were placed in my path for very specific reasons. And they saved me.
Robin was the earth shattering wake up call I needed to open my eyes and live a life. Then Alex, she was the demolition crew. You see I may have been opened up by Robin, but was still living in the bunker I’d built to protect myself from the world. Alex was methodical, relentless and in many ways clueless to her annihilation of me. And then Kimberly, thank god for Kimberly. She nurtured me back to life. Watering the burnt soil that once was me until that new little sprout popped up.
Upon breaking it off with Kim, I was alone again. Although this time it was different. I was no longer burdened with the sadness doubt and fear that had plagued me my entire life. I somehow found myself standing clear of all that bullshit. As if on a cliff overlooking the ocean, a warm breeze in my face and not a cloud in the sky. All the pain and confusion was gone, left in its place was peace. This newfound freedom led to a confidence and awareness I had never known. And it quickly lead to a series of epiphanies that continue, and seem to have no end.
The birth of my poem represents that rebirth of person. A moment I’ll never forget and a memory that will always find me smiling. I invite you to read it and then the article about the art show in that order. And while you read please know that I had no idea what happiness was until late last Summer. In that I finally found contentment with myself as a person, and to see the unlimited potential laid out before me.
I welcome your insights and look forward to answering any questions this account and the accompaniments raise.
Thanks for reading. Love You Both!”
The poem… Oh that poem, indeed my first born. 🙂 More on that and the article to follow.