Venus DeMars

Venus DeMars
Glass Plate photo

Friday, September 13, 2019

As of today


It has been a lifetime of searching.

And memories still elbow in.

At times unexpectedly so. And for whatever reasons I'm not entirely sure why.

One memory is of a gray afternoon. The rain stopped for maybe an hour, I grab my rain coat and walk my ten year old self outside, cross the street and stand on the opposite corner from my childhood house.

Me always so fascinated by the Duluth fog, and struck by the warmth of the air.

I stand counting puddles in the street. Watch the rivulets trickle from the hill to my left, slowly making their way, filling and exiting puddles, around the corner, then on again downwards. I imagine from there, their tiny courses bring them all the way to Lake Superior 6 blocks below.

I watch worms crawl. Across street cement and black asphalt patches. Unsure of these creatures, I not exactly repelled by them, but I have no attraction to them. Not like other boys.

I'd always ask my Dad to put them on my hook. During those few times I remember him taking me fishing. It bothered me to feel them squirm at the time of piercing when I attempted to do it myself. At my Dad's exasperated prompting.

I would take a breath, suppress my hesitation, and I would try. And then I'd ask for his help anyway. He would always oblige.

This gray warm afternoon while standing on the corner across from my house, the oldest daughter of the family two doors in from the corner came out to join me. She tells me she also wants to enjoy the rain and fog as she assumed I am. She asks if that's ok. If it's ok to join me. I say yes.

She is a year older than me and we don't usually talk. But today, with just the two of us, we do.

She notes how the puddle directly in front of us looks an awful lot like a swimming pool. Complete with a diving board jutting forward. The fail of the street cement creating the pool, the black asphalt patch mounded, forms the board.

I agree, and for a time we take turns walking to the diving board edge, commenting on what dive we might plan to perform, and then hopping into the middle of the pool. Our boots splashing clear the bottom which quickly re-fills.

Our conversation then turns to television. We pause now and then for a passing car, then review last Monday's Laugh-In, last week's Get Smart, discover we both really like Agent 99. She talks about the fashions worn, the dances danced, the go-go boots, and latest Beatles movies.

As we wander across the street to explore other puddles, she confides in me how she has her eyes on a pair of particular white go-go boots in a catalogue. I keep silent about my own interest in go-go fashion, but I happily agree with her as she comments on boot variations, then the different go-go skirt looks, then the cool English fashions from the last Beatles movie broadcast. She finishes by wishing someday she might make her home in England.

The rain has been gently increasing as we've talked, and now has built to a significant steady downpour. We said goodbye and run to our houses.

That afternoon's dialogue stays with me. I didn't feel as if I had been seen as a boy. I was just a friend. Perhaps only an accidental friend on a warm rainy day as I don't remember ever talking with her again, but I was absolutely seen that day, as someone worth confiding in about how cool go-go boots were and how envious English 1960's fashion could make us. 

I've lost contact with my childhood neighbors, and my childhood neighborhood. And I don't know if my friend from that day ever did get those boots or if she ever did make a home in England.

Maybe, those dreams passed unrealized like so many childhood dreams do. For me however, I never stopped dreaming. And I continue to search. Searching for my place in life, and my place with myself.

As a trans-person, I'm not sure if those searches ever end. But they ebb. 

Once I discovered music and the stage, I found an occasional home where I knew where my place in life was and I continue to reveled in it.

Along with that, I found a place within myself. And for so many years I screamed my gender identity so loudly that now, on occasion, I can just hear the echoes from my long ago self, tumble backwards returning to me fulfilled and rebounded from all those distant beautiful places I traveled.

Last year on Dec 13, I made the decision that it was time for me to move forward. I had my confirmation surgery. In 3 months to the day today, it will have been 1 year since.

Last Wednesday, I decided to move forward again. After wining a significant appeal process with my insurance company for coverage, along with the help of Phil Duran of JustUs Health, I made the decision to have Facial Feminization Surgery.

The change will be subtle. And please understand, I wasn't unhappy with my face before. But after a lifetime of journey, I know better than anyone, what I need to do to remain present and emotionally relevant.

I need to bring congruence back into my life. Back into myself.

I am nine days into recovery from 7 1/2 hours of facial bone surgery. And I am through the darkest and most emotionally difficult period of it.

I find I am more myself everyday.

And though I imagine I still have many roads to travel, and to be honest, I thrive on that, for now,
perhaps, after a lifetime of searching, I've found my way home.