I am writing this at the end of the best 4 days of my life. This is not a statement I make with abandon, rather I make it with the most careful deliberation. On Wednesday, 5 minutes before noon, I left to go see my family for the first time in five years. I had come out to them as transgender and beginning transition over the past 6 weeks, to positive reactions I’ve written about elsewhere. However, unlike every time in the past, this time I would be standing face to face with them, and look them in the eyes. Would I see shame not inflected in their voices; disappointment and downcast eyes, embarrassment only evident after a couple of days of quiet acceptance and food deliveries or a few too many drinks one night? All this and a thousand more scenarios ran through my mind as I made the drive. Some scenarios were frighteningly realistic, as I’ve heard hundreds of tales told by my friends in this world that ended in sadness, despair, and a few times, tragedy. Others with mixed results, some family standing by their newly discovered daughter (or son), others drinking the cup of division and discontent and disowning them.
I pulled into a truck stop an hour from my place and changed into what I used to think of as Tiff mode, but now think of as myself. In the 9 months since I joined CDH, I have come to the realization, acceptance, and embracing of the fact that as a transgender woman I am Tiffany, I am not a mask or an alter ego. There’s not a guy core deep down inside me, it’s just more pink fog all the way to my center, which I imagine looks like a butterfly of sapphire and diamonds, or something else really cool. I am just fine with this. Little Tiff, who I had in ignorance cruelly suppressed for 37 years, is now in the driver’s seat, and I’m loving every minute of it. 7 more hours pass as I drive. I call my best friend Jenn. Call my mom. Receive reassurances. Get gas and get out fast cause I’m still not totally confident in public, and also it’s cold outside. Drive through the sunset, check my makeup at a rest area with terrible lighting, and pull in front of my brother’s place just after 9:30 that night.
Pulse pounding I walk up to the door. It’s a cozy house, with colorful Christmas lights in the bushes. I stand at the door for 30 seconds. I press the doorbell, mouth dry, and await the response with bated breath. Then the porch light comes on and the door opens and my brother and mother and my brothers wife are hugging me and telling me they love me and they miss me and I’m crying and saying the same, and oh thank you God, thank you so much, thank you I’ve come home at last. My brother and I bring the stuff I brought into the house and I explain the gigantic tub of guy clothes, I’ve got maybe a year and a half left of ever wearing male clothes again so I’ve no need for the lot of it. I’ve kept enough to get me through so might as well give the unworn stuff to someone who plans to actually be a guy for a living. We talk late into the night, catching up on times missed, adventures had, and the elephant in the room, me deciding to execute operation “tiff4ever2021”. They accidentally call me by my male name now and then but I tell them not to worry. Still, by the end of the night, and a couple bottles of wine later, they are correcting each other when one accidentally misgenders me. Their kindness moves me to tears time and time again. We go to bed, and I fall asleep in seconds.
I wake up early, full of energy, and still a bit nervous, ’cause my dad is coming over that day. He was the one that had the reservations, wasn’t crazy about the transitioning part. But I shower, get dressed, choosing a pretty green white and black paisley/floral pattern skirt, black sleeveless blouse, and green cardigan. As I walk out into the living room, I hear little voices and look to my left, where two adorable little faces are peeking from behind an ottoman. My brother is on the couch, sees me, and stands up. He then looks at my niece and nephew, 7 and 4 respectively, and introduces them to their auntie Tiffany. A couple of “Hi aunt Tiffanys” follow, and then a knock at the door a few minutes later brings my dad into the house. We hug and say I love you, and sit down. No fight. Just like that. The day passes quickly and peacefully, and good, happy, wholesome memories are made. Many jokes are told, and happy laughter fills the air. Gift exchange follows. Everyone is sitting around the tree having a wonderful time. My gifts are small, but heartfelt. Christmas ornaments that say Tiffany 2019 (it’s my first actual Christmas). Cards with long heartfelt messages. Wine and for my brother, good scotch.
Around this time, i realize that I feel something I haven’t felt since I entered my emotionally abusive marriage 11 years ago – joy. No fear. Just happiness. This was how normal people have Christmas. No knowing some impossible to predict transgression would bring humiliation later. Just pure goodness, with good people who were happy to be around each other, and who loved me, Tiffany or not. In fact, they seemed to really love me as Tiff. I was free in a way I’ve never experienced. I had nothing to hide. I was home, and I was myself. Finally myself.
The next day, I went shopping with my mom and my brother’s wife, at Ulta, where I got a bunch of stuff that’ll let me up my game as Tiff. Then we went to my nephews’ Christmas party, where I watched little goobers run around and play. Then it was home, to change, so we could go out to dinner. Italian food was that night’s fare. We sat in the middle of the busy dining room, and had a long, leisurely dinner, as a happy family. We had a wonderful day. We stayed up til 2am talking. Then sleep.
The last day found me reflecting upon the prior three. My mom referred to me as her daughter, my brother had told me he thought I was a cool sister. My niece had been warming up to me and told me that she would really miss her auntie Tiff. She asked me not to leave, because apparently I was “too awesome” to leave. And I’d just met her, so I should stay.
Turns out my brother’s wife was a beautician, and all the products I’d gotten worked better than the old stuff. And I’d gotten a bunch too. Along with a bunch of liquor. As gifts for me.
Also, as it turns out, my parents saved all my old childhood toys. And the boxes they came in. I grew up in the original Star Wars era, and the toys were things like the millennium falcon, and the AT-AT walker. They even kept the instructions. Literal treasure.
I left with a full Jeep, and a full heart, glowing with happiness, my soul shining with joy. On the way home, I called the rest of my family, told them about Tiffany. They were all fine with it. I didn’t lose a one. And I never have to hide again.
I know our road is hard.
I know the bad ending comes
Most don’t see this part
Please do not despair
Better days await
Sometimes someone wins
This time it was me.
My numbers matched exactly.
I still cannot believe it.
The winning ticket.
It’s in my hands. It really is.
It’s not a dream it’s better
My prize is all I wanted
A few bonuses as well
4 days in heaven with angels
3 wishes granted to me
Too much treasure to carry
And one heart filled, by the love of the others
God bless y’all.
And may you get the Hollywood ending!
It happened to me.
Someone really does win.
I love you all so much
Sometimes Life is beautiful.