Dusk comes to another day. The last glimmer of light fades to a deep purple as the sun rests behind the mountains. The warm afternoon is transformed into a restless cool evening that longs for the dawn. Such was the sentiment as I traveled the long journey from Esprit. A journey whose end promised the leave of my true soul, the donning of my masculine mask once more.
Yet it is with a soulful peace that I return. A calmness in my spirit birthed by friends and sustained by a clear life purpose. A purpose that will undoubtedly bring both grief and triumph.
But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself….
This is how Esprit Started For Me
It was Monday evening, and a lonely transgender woman lay in her hotel room crying. She had come 100 miles to a strange city where she knew noone. Her confidence in her femininity matched only by the shyness inside. As the day’s scheduled events drew to a close she realized that once again she was alone. Barely through her tears she laments:
You have not known loneliness until the solitary wrenches your soul among a crowd.
You have not known loneliness until you are invisible even amongst those like you.
You have not known loneliness until you can feel the icy stake between your breast bones
And the unquenchable pain seeping from your core.
That girl was me. It was only on the words of comfort from those miles away, and the loud condemnation from those outside my window that I lay down to fitful sleep that night. An acquaintance who would become a friend told me of the ‘magic of Esprit’. But I didn’t believe her.
It’s always darkest…
Somehow I awoke the next day less mournful. Perhaps I had realized that it couldn’t get much worse. This is the part of the story where you expect to be surprised with, ‘But I was wrong’. I’ll have to disappoint you this time – the rest of the week was beautiful and wonderful. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘magical’, I want to share two magical moments I had with you. In telling this I’m reminded of the forlornly hopeful words of a song:
You don’t know how tall you stand until you fall,
That’s what valleys are for.
Nearly every hour of every day for the last few years I’ve been haunted by a transgendered specter. My true self that won’t release her vice grip on my mind. The fanciful daydreams are frustrated time and again by the cold reality. On Tuesday – for the first time in as long as I can remember – I forgot that I was transgendered. I was just me. Me – talking, laughing, sharing. The weight of my dysphoria was lifted. I wasn’t conscious of it at the time, yet felt the full effect of it’s relief on reflection. That was magical for me.
Being a shy girl by nature I was horrified at the suggestion that I enter Esprit’s annual ‘Fashion Show’. It not only involved two trips down the runway, but venturing into town to find the suitable evening wear for the formal event – which the local stores were happy to loan us. Body image issues – meet Vanessa. Vanessa – meet body image issues. No, that dress doesn’t fit – when was the last time you did yoga?
Anyway, enough of my mental conversation – after much persuading I was convinced to enter the fashion show. Nerve wracking and fervent busy-ness instilled a sense of accomplishment and comradery in the girls, but it wasn’t until after the show that I had my magical moment. After all the hard work I changed back into my regular clothes – a simple dress and heels, and was on my way down to have lunch with the girls. In that moment I felt like a woman who had finished work, on the way to spent time with her colleagues. I was Vanessa more truly than I’ve been before. It was magical!
A Joy Shared…
I’m so grateful for all the wonderful friends I made at Esprit. A joy shared is truly a joy multiplied. I’ll run the risk of naming a few of the wonderful ladies I met, always knowing that I’ll inevitably miss someone – and for that I apologize in advance. Even stars can sometimes be forgotten (sorry Farrah).
Firstly to Robin – I’m blessed to call you a friend – caring, interesting and conversation worthy of creating magical moments :). Kathryn – you’re a sweetie! I found it comfortable and easy to be myself with you – and have the distinct honor of being the only girl to see my room [In case others are wondering, we ate pizza and chatted…]. Chelsea and Ruby – your beautiful spirit brought me peace, I treasure meeting you. Meghan and Reegan – I’m humbled to have made a small difference in your Esprit, knowing you made a big difference in mine. Elly and Cheryl, Violette, Brenda, Jamie (for helping convince me to join the fashion show) Carma and all the other ladies I missed – thank you!
To all the readers of Crossdresser Heaven I met at Esprit – it was an absolute pleasure! Anne (love you dear!), Monica, Joanne, Terri, Kara and Robin I’m honored to have met you in person.
So now we end at the beginning – the path to my womanhood has never been clearer, nor the road so smoothly paved. Thank you to Esprit and all my new friends for making this possible.
Robin has told me she’ll get upset with me if I didn’t mention that I won the ‘Harriet Stites’ award, which is awarded to the ‘most inspirational’ first time attendee at Esprit as voted by other first time attendees. Now I’ve mentioned it, and blushing I complete this post 🙂
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