The beauty of that area more than compensated for the remoteness, except when it came to getting to know others in the transgender community. Geographical isolation and my spouse's initial fear of exposure made it necessary to hide who I was. I couldn't even go to a local therapist for fear that word might leak out.
Thanks to this blog I've had quite a few friends - trans and otherwise - who know I am a woman. For so very long I was never able to be in the same room with them.
It was only in the past three years that all of that changed, partly thanks to Cassidy. She introduced me to a friend of hers who lived close enough to visit. We were instant friends and now we are like family. We see one another as often as possible; she was one of two family who were there for me in the days after surgery in September.
Living as myself has allowed me to visit with some of those whom I met online in the past seven years. I'm looking forward to carrying that tradition on, too. (See you early in the new year, Joanna.)
This past year has seen tumult and so much change. The person I called sweetie for four decades and I are divorced. I moved from the community where we had lived together to help her move on. There are many there whom I will continue to see from time to time; they are my friends, not because or in spite of my transition. They are friends, full stop.
In my new community I am not in hiding, but neither am I broadcasting my history. It seems silly to worry that someone might think my hair isn't quite right (it isn't) or my voice is a bit masculine (it is) or that I might be trans. It has been my experience that when we get to know one another, these things matter so little. There are so many things that define who we are and whether we are worth getting to know.
Sometimes I cannot believe how many second chances I have been given and not just to live as myself. I am married again. My partner and I knew each other as children and loved one another as teens and were good friends as young adults. We are wife and wife now, reunited after half a lifetime away from one another. We are comfortably active and are making new friends together here. Life is good.
Best wishes to all for a peaceful holiday season.
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas.
p.s. As it happened, Joanna and I met before the new year, and had a great time together.