Know it feels good to be alive. I was alive and I waited, waited. I was alive and I waited for this. Right here right now there is no other place I want to be.
Right Here, Right Now. Jesus Jones
She absolutely didn’t want to go. She couldn’t understand why I wanted to drive 45 minutes in heavy traffic to a place that I had never been to before in my life. She said, “why can’t we just go to that nice restaurant that we past on the way here to the motel?” Yet, one hour later there she sat with me at Rosie’s. That’s just the kind of person she was. She knew that it was important to me that the first place that I went out to eat as me would be accepting of me and a good experience for me to build on in the future.
Rosie’s Bar And Grill is a restaurant located near Fort Lauderdale in Wilton Mannors. The small town is know to be very gay friendly. I was hoping that they would be transgender friendly also. Even when she didn’t quite understand me, she always loved me, and she quickly figured out that going to this particular place that I had made up my mind to be the first restaurant that I would go out as Trish(a name I used before Tuesday) was important to me.
I remember being extremely nervous getting ready to go out. Even as nervous as I was I knew that the time had come to go out as me. It was one of those “now or never” kind of things. Backing out never crossed my mind. I got dressed early in the motel room around 3, even though we weren’t going to leave until 5 or so for dinner. I wore jeans, a dark top, and a blue jean jacket. I put on too much make up, I’m sure, and my well worn wig, the one which I had worn around my home for the past 25 years. I had never gone out and interacted with someone who I hadn’t met previously. The daunting task of talking to a stranger gripped me with fear.
I had lived my life petrified that someone would find out my big bad dark secret. I could never get up the courage to leave the house except when I knew that I would not encounter strangers. What would they think of me? What if they recognized me from Kroger or Church or wherever? What if I had to use the restroom? So I went back and forth in boy mode and girl mode trying to be myself but not let anyone else in except Linda and then later Amy.
Here it was 2013 and I was about to turn 60. I had started taking hormones that I had bought on a trip to Mexico that January. Five months later I didn’t see or feel much change but I felt compelled to keep trying to become me. Part of that becoming me was to start going out as me. Rosie’s was my make or break moment.
That evening went very smoothly as the wait person hardly even blinked when she took my order. Linda reminded me to, “sit up straight and enjoy this, don’t worry you’ve got it.” I guess I was trying to hide in my seat and I kept looking around like someone was going to walk in and scream at me. After Linda scolded me, I soon relaxed and enjoyed the experience. As with anything that is new and exciting the evening went by much too quickly.
It would be a full year until I would start living life as my true-self. Over the next 12 months I made my social transition and I continued to become a “better version of me” as Linda would like to say.
So now it is October 2016 and I just got back from Florida where I got to go back to Rosie’s and experience it from a different perspective. One of a very out and open transgender woman. As I sat at Rosie’s in the middle of the room verses that dark corner I sat in the first time I realized how much that I had changed in a little over 3 years. I am not just talking about being out. I am talking real personal growth. I am no longer gripped by fear of what someone might think of me. I write about my life. Every single aspect of my life is presented for viewing to those who want to read my blog or my monthly articles in LinQ.
As I sat at the table at Rosie’s writing this account of my life I reached down around my neck to touch Linda’s wedding ring that I have worn every day since she died a year ago. It wasn’t there. In rushing out to catch the plane that morning I had left it sitting on the dresser. At first I was terribly upset and then it occurred to me. It was Linda saying, “sit up straight and enjoy this, don’t worry you’ve got it” one more time. And she was right again,