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Journeys

This is the post excerpt.

 

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journeys….. we all take them… could i ask, can life be considered one long journey or just a multitude of small journeys… and at the end of a journey always lies the destination… is that what we seek in these journeys, in our life, this so-called destination….
over the past hundreds of years thousands of voyagers have walked the “Camino de Santiago”, a pilgrimage also known as “The Way of St. James”… is the sole purpose of this pilgrimage to reach the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain…. no for a pilgrimage can be defined as a journey or more importantly a search of moral or spiritual significance….. what we find and gain everyday of this journey, that is the reward we carry with us for the rest of life, not the final steps to our destination…

this blog i will write will be about journeys… the journey i take this summer in Alaska… but also about a journey i waited a lifetime to take in life…. i invite you to walk with me… the pages that follow will be my thoughts, lessons i learned, my hopes and also my disappointments, my happiness and my pain….
it’s once been said a journey begins with the first step taken… this is my first step

 

the beginning of a dream… from the Log of Tranquility

May 31, 2004
it’s dark outside and i’m safely tucked down in the cabin of Tranquility, a dream come true… the past few days has been an adventure in boat ownership and maintenance… Jeffrey (my brother) where are you when i need you.. slowly, and with a hundred questions i’m learning…. and with an endless list of should do, must do, would be nice to do and someday i’ll do jobs i have more than enough to do and keep me busy…
but for now i sit in quiet and listen to the sounds of the night… there’s the smell of salt in the air and the dampness that comes from being on the water…. i look around at my beautiful new world…. one of the first things i had to do was to put my books, the books that would be Tranquility’s library on their shelf… and with my mug of tea i sit in this beautiful dream…
i started the engine for the first time today and journeyed nowhere… it was my first step and a big step for me… always i think of my brother and of my grandfather, what would they do, what would they say…. i have their presence always with me as i putter around… i’m learning my way around Tranquility and i made the promise i will always treat her as a lady for many a dreams she will take me to… David Crosby wrote a song, “The Lee Shore” about a love affair with his schooner called “Mayan”… i haven’t written my song yet but i am falling in love with Tranquility…
always i will look southward towards Pt. Loma and the ocean… i must be patience, my time will come and when i unfurl my sails and feel the wind upon my face and i’ll let Tranquility carry my heart away
to you Joanne i owe this dream, not only of Tranquility but of this life i have shared with you… “and i love you… till forever comes and gone… till the day i die… till the sun’s gone”

June 2, 2004
for the first time i left the safety of the dock with two friends and ventured towards San Diego Bay… standing behind the wheel she gently carried me away… my heart and spirit were soaring… i didn’t need to go far this first time, the important thing was i went… this small journey was more important than any destination… my destinations will all come later but today i will cherish this beginning

June 6, 2004
today i let the wind fill the sails for the first time and we sailed away… i only took a few tacks around the bay but this felt so good… at times i never thought i would of ever been doing this but yes, dreams do come true… this was the first time i sailed a boat this size, basically by myself, so Tranquility felt like a lot of boat to handle but she was very forgiving… she too must have patience with these hands that will now care for her… i felt the wind in my face and with the heeling of the hull, the straining in the rigging, my hands on her wheel, yes i was in heaven… and this was only my first of an endless lifetime of sails

June 8, 2004
this was my very first time leaving the dock alone… a thousands questions with only myself to answer them… i felt my brother’s spirit encouraging me as i left the dock… i could imagine his smile and how proud he would be… as i left the dock my first task was simply backing out of the slip…. i went over the routine a thousand times in my head…. and before i knew it i was heading out of the marina towards the bay… it was early in the morning and all was still on the water as i motored over to the marina on Shelter Island to have electrical work done… i kept worrying how i would dock…. would i have to parallel park with a boat, a thousand questions, but Tranquility held my hand and made me proud… slowly i’m learning and patiently she encourages me… it’s these small fragments of minutes that are starting to form memories… thank you Jeffrey for your encouraging spirit…
some day we will sail away, my brothers, the 3 of us with our laughter echoing in the wind
to Tranquility

and i hear your silent whispers
calling
calling to my soul…
your lingering scent stirs these restless blues
m’lady, sail me away

hold my hand and journey we will
take me away to hear the mermaids sing
the blowing of the whales
the crying of the gulls..
just hold this drifting soul
m’lady, sail me away

take to the horizons
where the sun always sets
far, far away
where the scent of this troubled land is no more
let me see your sun rise
a new day dawning with prayers for fair winds
and the soaring of an albatross
m’lady, sail me away

take me away
let me feel your gentle rhythms
lose my soul where time doesn’t matter
and where the flooding of the tides can’t be felt
i scream to the gods
i scream let your winds fill these sails
and with these worn and soiled charts
a compass to guide
m’lady sail me away
m’lady, sail me away
jtalarico 6/9/2004

how do you say goodbye to a dream

life is full of many journeys… some you really never want to end, but like all journeys they have an ending… my journey with Tranquility will always be cherished… these words are taken from her Ship’s Log… after i sold Tranquility i kept her Log and her Ensign, and today i still hold these so dear…..

November 11, 2014
Call it what you want… a new chapter… a beginning.. the end of a beautiful relationship… moving on… it really doesn’t matter what i call this but i must walk this troubled path… and i will walk it alone, with much thought… turmoil… and definitely regret and pain…
i finally made the decision to put Tranquility, a dream come true, up for sale….. was it time… i really think it is, but i would be lying if i said i didn’t have second thoughts… i can read through the pages that make up this journal, the ship’s log, a log and journal that i kept from the first day i boarded her… God how i wish i had that day back again… the excitement…. and i am blessed, for by reading these pages i can relive a dream i thought i would never have possessed… this has been a beautiful journey and i thank God everyday for it…
slowly over the course of 2 days i started to filled boxes with what made Tranquility special to me, what made Tranquility “Tranquility”… it was the little things that brought the tears, for with each item i remembered the occasion when i found the item… the port of call i was in, and the decision that this would be the perfect gift for my lady, Tranquility…. hurrying back to Tranquility to give her, her gifts… gifts that were to be found throughout my Tranquility… my “Captain” name plate that was mounted over my berth…. the oil lantern that gave me a warm glow during all those lonely evenings in which we shared that treasured solitude… boxes were filled with memories that can never and will never be taken from me… i still took the time to carefully wash her down, i always wanted my lady to look beautiful… oh how i’ll miss all the hours of tinkering, of caring, of caressing and always admiring with pride…
as the boxes were filled her spirit was slowly ebbing away… what made her mine was slipping away in boxes… i know the hardest part was yet to come… my final journey and then just walking away…
i was frustrated with the constant pain in my elbow… i could hardly raise the main sail to check the sail’s condition after the long summer of not being used… that was the first summer that passed without beautiful summer days spent sailing or just being with “my lady”… my body is now plagued with pain and frustration with everything i try to do… pulling out her batteries and checking them was almost too much for me…

i left Tranquilty that weekend knowing that different hands would be looking after her in the future… would they ever be able to see or even feel the love and joy she gave back to me…

some roads are hard to walk… i know this road will be one… ah my little lady, my Tranquility…. oh God how i love you so

December 17, 2014
a phone call….words were spoken…and with those words my dream will come to an end….. yes… Tranquility was sold. Should i be happy… no instead i shed a silent tear as i felt my heart breaking as my dream really started coming to its end….. dreams are beautiful things in life… they can keep your spirit alive… they are a form of hope for the future…. yet dreams have to end

its hard to imagine my life without Tranquility… she was a life’s dream….. part of my daily thoughts…. something to always look forward to… those quiet moments we shared…. i hate to think that i will not hear the wind fill her sails… feel her hull heeled over with the ocean racing by…. the salt air in my face….. beautiful moments…. that became memories that i will always cherish

i still have yet one more trip to take….
more boxes will be filled as i remove what made Tranquility so special to me….. and then i must take my final sail….. i’ll fly her ensign as always but i must accept that other hands will replace the movements that were always mine…. i will have to step away from the helm… so many hours my hands held onto it…. always guiding her along….the compass…how many times did i check my course…. my eyes never grew tired from her reflection…
i will shed a light on her personality….. how she liked her sails to be trimmed….. reveal her soul and spirit….. i must let her go… but i will with a prayer of thanks

12/26
its night now… the marina is quiet….the air outside is cool and soon i will have to turn on my little space heater…. like so many other evenings i sit in my spot… music fills the cabin…. yet as i look around i see only empty shadows of what once was my dream…. all that made Tranquility mine….. my books ….. my memories….. they all have been taken off…. i sit alone without even Joshua to keep my tears company…. he should be here with me…. his blue pillow that spent many a days on my berth has been packed away…. his reflection is gone…… there will be no more long walks along the bay with him by my side… those lazy mornings with the two of us in the cockpit…reading… just enjoying the moment….. as i look through my tears i see so many beautiful memories that were made….. this boat was a treasure chest filled with memories that are only mine…its sad but n0body knows of my time with Tranquility…. all those memories will be lost with me…..

tomorrow i’ll do the “sea trial”…. meet those who’s hands will caress my lady….. i can only pray that she is treated as i did….

i feel so empty tonight….i want to just curl up in my berth and cry to sleep…. but my time is so limited….. in a way i want the night to last forever…. she is still mine…. she is still mine….. and i can’t think of leaving her

December 27, 2014 Day of Tranquility’s Sea Trial

this will most likely be my last sail on Tranquility…. a thought that i have a hard time really grasping….. my feelings are numb… my emotions are drained…. my tears are dry…. i can’t even think about what my emotions, my thoughts will be when her sails are raised….. no longer raised by my hands with my eyes reaching upward… watching that beautiful white sail reach for the heavens…. and then when the wind fills her sails and the engine goes silent….. i know there will be many a secret tears being shed

but for now i sit alone…. alone with a million memories in a spot i sat so many times before…… and this morning i sit here and have what will probably be my last mug of tea aboard Tranquility….. as i sat there i only wish i could grab ahold and relive each and every one of those golden and salty memories… and Joshua…. i miss my faithful mate…. always wanting and hoping to jump up on my lap and share the minutes resting in my legs while i would give him his loving pets…..

its a beautiful day today… blue skies with the promise of wind… i sit with tears as my company and a million thoughts… waiting for my heart to be broken

December 27, 2014 Tranquility’s Sea Trial

i left the dock for the last time…… i was glad i was alone with my tears…. i would meet the hands that would care for Tranquility over in Shelter Island…. so this last journey i took slowly as my tears would not let the minutes rush by…. how many times i traveled these waters only to wait for the wind… a day on the water… what could possibly be better… but today was so different……

i wait on a foreign dock….. numb…. i can’t even relax and enjoy these last moments on Tranquility…. i hate these minutes

finally…. and for my very last time i guide Tranquilty from its berth… and then i hand her helm to those hands… God i pray they will cherish this dream that i’m letting go…. we sail the bay… words are being said but am i really listening… i’m lost in sadness… so many times i want my hands to take the helm…… i curse my decision to let her go…… must this beautiful dream end….. finally knowing my last minutes are racing by i take the helm….. i feel her ways… is she also shedding tears as we part our ways…. slowly i take her to the dock

many words are said and broken promises are made… her name will no longer grace her sides…. in a way i’m happy because Tranquility was me…. we were one for all those years… soulmates…..

and now i’m alone…. i pack my bags and load the dock cart…. the minutes race by slowly… i hesitate a million times…. i look time and time again with my hungry eyes wanting to capture every image and thought for eternity….. i leave her cabin only to return again…… my tears are my only companion along with my broken heart….. i lock her companionway… and then i walk away… i looked back countless times as my dream came crashing to a close….. a final photo… my final steps as i walk out of a beautiful dream

 

January 9, 2015
papers were signed… there was no excitement like the last time… no anxious dreams of the days ahead…. i moved reluctantly through the motions knowing it was all but gone… are these my betrayal papers… and my bag of silver…. they are just coins…. coins that anyone can gather….. and with these papers her named will be gone….. erased…. no longer spoken …. no longer will i hear your name….. i’m so sorry, my lady…. the tears i shed are real…. they represent our love…. all those magical days we shared…. God what have i done…… i walk away now…. but before i leave know that i loved you so very much… and always… always i know i have our memories that i will cherish….. Tranquility…. you always will be a beautiful dream that i loved so very much
thank you…. and to you, Joanne… my eternal thanks for giving me a dream

January 14, 2015
I hold a check in my hand….. but in my heart i hold memories of a dream that lasted for 11 years…. to me they are worth more than this bag of tarnished silver

…and i cry
i cry for those tranquility days are gone
dam-it, why did i let them slip away in the night…
do we ever know our blessings until they are stolen from our grasp…
you tell me there are others to be had
the hell with you
for i will never be able to replace perfection
she was mine
and she’s gone
god i love….no i hate these memories…
does the pain of loss feel good
does it bronze those lost memories forever

Essay on transitioning “fighting my demons (part II)

Essay on transitioning “fighting my demons/Part II”

 

i walk the ship amongst the echoes of praise that the passengers sing…. i love the sound of my name and oh how glad i am that i chose that simply but beautiful sound to be the music of my name….. how can i help but to feel beautifully accepted… the hugs and smiles are endless… never have i ever known or felt happiness like this before… i feel i am so blessed and i deeply appreciate this blessing i have been given and never will i stop saying my prayers of thanks….. and often i catch the reflection i cast in a mirror, i’ll stop, but for a moment and smile, at times i could almost cry i am so happy…. the blessing that Dr. Ley bestowed upon me with her gifted hands i could never thank her enough…. it’s funny but now in this life i am always seeking out a mirror to witness this reflection that i love so dearly….. yes dreams do happen… so how can i not be happy….

in a “visual sense” i have transitioned into the woman of my dreams and i wish this happiness and inner peace that i feel for every girl like me… on my handbag i always carry a small pennant with the gender symbol that i carried within me all my life, and next to that is a small disc that simply states, “i was born like this”… and today i carry no shame for what i am… for i have to believe i was created like this for a reason…. i will not question His divine plan but just maybe my purpose in this life is simply to help others to understand, we too are beautiful, and really no different than you….

and even if i look into the eyes of these passengers, for i have learned the eyes can reveal what the heart feels, and looking in their eyes today i just feel happiness because at that moment they just see my image as one of many in a crowd… i stop and chat often with many, just a typical conversation, a conversation that they might have with anyone they were fond of…..
but then i scream at my demons…. please leave me alone, i cried enough for a lifetime because of your haunting cries…. and in that moment i am not that beautiful woman but just a fragile soul trying not to be “read”…. i hate it, will this ever end….. and in my heart i cry because i know this is my fate…. but i ask, “does this have to be my curse in life?”
and if i think about this, what is really tearing me into pieces…. it’s the simple question, “have they “read” that i am transgender?…. and to them at that moment in time, being transgender really doesn’t matter for they have been captured in the essence of my soul…. and for me, i will probably never see these people again after this cruise… have i given them a positive outlook “on being transgender’ ….. that yes i am transgender but in reality am i not really any different than you……

and now i think…. all of my friends i have, really good friends, they all know my secret…. they know my secret and still love and accept me… with these friends i don’t have to worry about being “read”, they all know….. but with the friends i am making now this summer on the ship, we get along and enjoy each other’s company, it’s that simple,… that in itself should be the bottom line, we are friends… and now i cry, “why do i need to know if they have “read” me”….. at that moment in our relationship it really doesn’t affect our friendship, yet i have this burning need to know, to know, have they “read” me…. is my desire to be cis-gender that strong that it’s still tearing my heart apart…. and i think, strip me down naked and am i not just like you… yes i am but in my heart i know i am not… XY can never be XX, that is my genetic curse to always carry,
and i cry… why are my demons stealing my happiness, why am i letting this happen… is it the self esteem that i battled with all my life, my insecurity of who i am… i know not why am i more comfortable once a person knows my secret…..
and in this moment in time i feel simply very fragile
tess julianna 5/24/18

“winter thoughts heading north to Ketchikan”

Winter thoughts heading north to Ketchikan
Feb 11 2016
i am once again at sea….. we left in the darkness of night as the tide started to flood…… a journey i talked about all last summer…. a journey that tess always wanted to take…. i’m aboard the Aleutian Ballad, the famous king crab boat from the Deadly Catch, and we are heading to Alaska…. outside the rain is falling and i’m in the darkness of an early dawn…. the sea seems to be alive although the swells are small, yet the swells are pushing us around quite a bit…. the wind is blowing at 20 kts yet i’m protected as i sit in the pilot house both safe and warm…. i’m sitting in the helm chair on the port side of the boat and in the background is the steady hum of the engines…. slowly pushing us northward… we’re only still off the coast of Washington on a course that will take us north of Vancouver Island…. and the rain continues to fall

thoughts wander back to my time with Tranquility… i truly miss my little lady….. an unbroken dream that lived for 11 beautiful years until i walked away from her that evening in January…. my heart crying as real tears were felt…. a goodbye that was the hardest i ever had to do…. i often wonder where my lady is….. are hands like mine tenderly caressing her everyday…… i miss her scent….. i miss her touch…. i miss her being
i sit and watch the constant rain and the flight of the gulls….. carefree, just drifting with the winds…

Feb 12
and the rain continues to fall…. thinking back through yesterday i wonder did the rain ever stop….. once again it’s the quiet hours of predawn…. the world is dark and silent for i can’t feel the wind or hear the sea…. slowly this island that i float upon moves ever northward…. slowly and silently the wind and currents push us towards Alaska…. i am at peace in this moment, for the sea has always brought me peace… the steady rhythm of the swells…. the rain against the glass that i stare out through, to this cold distant world…. the marine radio breaks the silence with an advisory of a waiting storm in the distant…. but our journey will have taken us safely to the north of this storm…… looking to the east awaiting the dawn of this new day…. and the rain falls

Feb 13
the rain continues to fall…. i sit once again and look out at a world of wind, rain and swells….. it seems we left Astoria at the right time as we are staying ahead of the worst of the weather….. yesterday afternoon there were small windows of sunshine but mostly we been accompanied by gray skies and rain….. i can feel a drop in the chill in the air as we head further north….. north once again to my beloved town of Ketchikan….. but for the rest of today the swells and wind will continue to push us northward while this rain continues to wash our pallet….

being on this journey upon the sea one finds there are many idle moments that allows ones mind to drift like the currents….. at times i think of my past…. my many journeys that this soul of mine has experienced….. and as i think back to each of those journeys i wonder did i really know my course i was taking through life….. i feel most of the time i was just caught in the flood or ebb of the tides of my life…. did i really know my true destination……. with each summit that i reached there was always a moment of idle satisfaction…. i could reflect over what was accomplished and also stare hard into the unknown future…. yes there were always the deep valleys that i descended into….. and at times it grew dark and i felt lost…… my course felt uncertain…….. so was there always a careful laid out plan…. i think not, but a course i set, and always i seemed to move ahead

Feb 14
it was late last night with a gentle rain still falling that i saw the lights of Ketchikan once again…… a thousand memories does this small town hold…. rainy walks amongst rainy days with a thousand puddles that my boots did play within…. it feels good to be back to my alaskan home…. only the noise from the bars could be heard from the docks that were empty of the thousands of tourist who wander about in search for their alaskan memories…. this gentle winter rain is washing away, for yet another day, the stains left from those crowds…… for tonight the streets belong to those whose songs are heard from the many bars…… and the docks are empty and stand silent and so beautiful without the ships that will come once again with the summer rains…. yes its good to be home once again

Feb 16
the sky is gray and the mountains are blanketed in clouds as the rain continues to fall….. i always wanted to spend a rainy winter day in my Ketchikan and today my dream comes true…… its cold, its damp, untold puddles cover the sidewalks as small playgrounds for the boots of those who wander aimlessly without destination other than a walk in the silent rain…… it’s a day that i find myself sitting in the wheelhouse of the Ballad in my chair just reading and napping as ones sees fit… my morning did have a beautiful walk in this rain as it felt good to be cleansed by this winter rain…… the boats sit idle in the harbors enjoying a winter’s sleep until the rains of spring…. as i let my eyes wander to the many windows overlooking the waterfront, i wonder how many chairs are placed by these windows with hungry eyes that soak in these rainy days….. with a pile of books by my side, a mug of hot tea and wrapped in my blanket i would spend my Ketchikan days throughout the winter…… and today is a beautiful day to let the mind travel through memories and dreams…..

Feb19
my friends have all left….. the crab pots are soaking in the cold tidal current awaiting the crabs… there is noting to do but wait… to watch the days slip slowly by…. the afternoon rains quietly fall while i sit in warmth by a window, my mug of tea and my sleeping bag as my blanket……. finally my dream of spending a winter in Ketchikan has happened…. my book is closed now as i spent the afternoon hours reading and dreaming…… when my eyes grew weary of words i took to my raincoat and walked the rainy streets of this quiet town….. the sidewalks are empty of the summer crowds as i can freely wander at will….. the puddles were all mine to splash through as i walked with no destination in mind…. i treasure the thought of another full day alone in my rainy paradise, with nothing other than reading and walking in the rain before i must head for home…..

Feb 21
with my dream and memories packed in my bags i took my final walk in the rain… a taxi and then a ferry and the rain continued to fall…. i took my wool cap off so i could feel the rain for one last time…. i feel cleansed by this rain… now in a broken silence i awaited my flight but in a way i hope it would never arrive…
and as that jet lifted into the clouds, i looked for one last time at my beloved town of Ketchikan….. and i thought… journeys must all end if only for another dream, for another journey to begin

“the choices that i made”

i love this piece i wrote…. the slippers refer to a ballerina’s slippers and images i saw when i went to the Az. School of Ballet to see a ballet… there were girls in a studio practicing and i was captured by what i saw… this piece deals with so much more than what’s on the paper

to all my dancers, wherever you may be
“the choices that i made”

i sit alone
on this wooden deck….
islands drift by in the chilly mist
with a sun rise still hours away…
yet my reflection never changes
in these early hours…
a woolen sweater
a worn sock hat
my fingerless gloves,
while in my head
my restless demons dance
leaving me to sit here now
alone and with regret
for the choices that i made….

i think of you now…
and a tear fills my eye,
a thousand questions i cannot answer
rips my soul apart…
for do we really ever know
the pain that will fill our hearts one day,
fill our hearts because,
because of the choices that we made…

 

i tied my shoes with laces caked in mud
the leather, stain in sweat and worn miles
my feet tired and blistered
while you chose to tie your slippers
with feet blistered worst than mine
from endless practices….
and in a way we both danced
each to our own drummer….
we danced because of the choices we made
and now i wonder did we have a choice
i never had your slippers and did you ever have my boots
and because of that….
yea the choices that we made

i choose a summit
you chose the stage
while i bathed in the warmth of an early morning sun
always the wind i felt….
while you,
you chose the spotlight
the applause may it never end
we both feel this in our soul
for this becomes the essence of who we are
the essence of who we are
because of the choices that we made

 

i sit in a silent regret
as i watch you stretch…
how many times did you stand and hold the rail,
endless practices
a routine that became your life,
always in that room of dreams…
and if that spotlight never came
would it really matter
because i watched you dance that day
and your smile told me what your heart felt
i envy the choices that you made….

and for me
i hardly ever stretched…
i just laced my boots
shouldered my pack….
never did i have to practice
in that room of dreams…
i just found a trail and let my boots
find my peace in heart
because of the choices that i made…

and today i cry
my feet are worn from the miles
my boots sit silently in a closet
the miles i cannot walk
and if i had one wish today
just for a moment
that is all i ask….
just for a moment…
to tie your slippers and dance,
ah the choices that i made
tess julianna 5/23/18

Essay on transitioning #8 “fighting my demons”

Essay on Transitioning: Fighting my Demons

i am learning… learning that being born with gender dysphoria simply means i must fight demons for my entire life…. i have been in transition for over two and half years now, yet my demons persists… i have had complete facial surgery along with my gender reassignment… a surgery i dreamed and prayed for all my life…. surgeries that would allow me to be who i always dreamed of being…. to simply live my life as the person i always wished i could… yet i fight my demons everyday…. is this the curse of gender dysphoria, or are the feelings i’m feeling today just the feelings that many lonely women feel…

there are always choices in life… one always has the opportunity to make decisions…. which course on my compass do i take, which path do i choose to focus on… the choice ultimately will rest with me… do i let the “regret” darken my life with sadness or do i cast this all aside and seek the light, the happiness of who i am today…. the choice is mine..

and as i take this journey, a journey i had to take, there have been many who have helped me fight my demons…. a wife with an unconditional love, my therapist, label them friends or my army of supporters or simply just angels sent down to hold my hand at a given moment…. they all have helped me to fight my demons…. they can help me find my way but ultimately the battle is mine to fight alone…. the choice is mine to make… i can lay down my sword and have my life be devoured by my demons or i can fight, the choice is ultimately mine alone…

since the dawn of my puberty i’ve heard my siren’s haunting songs…. i’ve spent an empty lifetime looking at girls wishing that was me… the pain was constant and those visions constantly engulfed my world, drowning me…. everywhere i looked i saw what i was denied… at times i even wondered was my sight a curse or a gift….. i simply wanted my world “Painted Black”….. i prayed everyday, yet there was no god to hear my prayers… every night before i closed my eyes i prayed for my dream, yet i woke every morning just to face another day as the person i really didn’t want to be…. and i did that everyday in my life… so how did i fight these demons during my life… what could possibly take the desperation and pain away even if it was only temporarily…..

and so i took to spinning fantasies…… fantasies just to make my world a little more livable… a world that i wanted but was denied…. these were the dreams of the life i so desperately wanted… and soon my fantasies became my demons… i could not exist throughout the day without the fantasies of the world that i was denied… i needed these moments just to make it to another day…… as a teenager, i resorted to crossdressing in hopes to just experience what was stolen from me, even if it was only for a moment….. these became moments that i loved but only to feel the pain of the world that i was denied…. crossdressing always began with hope yet always ended in shame and tears….. i could not even enjoy the intimacies of making love with my wife… no the essence of her beauty and sexuality was destroyed by my demons…. the ugly fact was i could not enjoy the beauty of her body… no it was the twisted fantasies that i painted in my mind that enable me to go through with this sacred act of love…. i had to be her in this act of love…..i always wanted to take the submissive role, to be wildly caressed… i wanted my breasts to be smothered with love with hands that fondled them….. i wanted the seductive scent of her perfume on my body
and in the end i simply lived every moment of my life wishing “i was born a girl instead of the mess of a man that i am”…. and i lived in this hell for 66 years

Janis Ian wrote a song she titled “seventeen”…. it was a biographical song about her teenage years… feeling unattractive and socially left out, she viewed herself as a “wallflower” throughout her early years …. she was not in the popular circle of girls… she never had the teenage romances or the dates and proms that all teenage girls so desire… she simply looked at herself as the ugly duckling….. in my many years of teaching high school i saw my share of these girls….. quiet and withdrawn, and i always wondered what their real thoughts and feeling were… i saw the contrast between the “boy’s favorite” and the girls left in the shadows…. did they too lived their life fighting demons….

and today how many women are just like these girls… dreaming of being loved…. dreaming of a beautiful relationship… dreaming of just being touch by a hand other than their own…… dreaming of a hand to hold and lips that would kiss them…. kiss them forever….
and now i ask, “are these their demons that they must fight everyday?”

and today i find myself no different than these women and the demons they fight… for even though i am now complete in every way possible there is a part of me that i know will never be…. i lay here in this bed alone, and since my gender reassignment surgery i must perform this task now for the rest of my life… i lay here alone, and i will always be alone in these moments, that’s the ugly truth of the matter…. regardless of the tears i shed now, i will never do anything that would cause her to shed another tear…. she gave up her world because of the love she has for me….

and so i continue to fight my demons… they never stop haunting me with their songs…. i lay in this empty bed of solitude wanting to know what does it feel like to be physically loved…. to have hands caress this body and to bury me with their passion of kisses… to have someone make love to you because they so desire your body….. someone who wants to be smothered by the scent of my perfume…. i cry to be touch by another hand yet i know i never will be…. i want someone to dance with me, to hold me tight in their arms…. this world in which i exist is “still filled” with vision of what i will never have.. do my eyes seek out these lovers….. i can’t even open a magazine without staring sadly at an add with someone holding or touching as i cry to be…… was all this part of the bargain i got at my crossroads… yes i became what i always dreamed and prayed to be only in the end to still have demons to fight…
i wonder, is this all just a “simple twist of fate”

this is my world… i can never describe the joy i feel everyday being the woman i have become today, it’s magic, it’s a beautiful prayer, a blessing i have to enjoy now for eternity, yet the choice is mine…..
do i feed my demons with tears and depression or do i simply smile and remember the prayer i held as a child… the choice is mine
tess julianna 5/18/18

Essay on transitioning #7 Discharge Day

taken from my journal, “songs of the sirens”
March 24
today is my “discharge day”, i walk away complete in so many ways that i wasn’t before… there will be so many tears i will shed today…
most people go to a hospital because of failing health, not i…. GreenBaum Surgical Center has always been a dream, a dream in my future, a dream at times i never knew it would be worth holding on to, believing in… for most of my life i never really knew this Surgical Center existed at all but it was the idea that there “would be” a place that “understood”, a staff that would “embrace my dream” too, maybe in their own way… and if i did know of this Surgical Center, would i have walked around this building in my bearded days, daring to touch it for fear that i would never want to walk away….. i know that would have been the case……
life is full of twists and turns, stumbles, falls but also summits and dreams, we always have a choice, a choice on what to focus on…. and my dream led to a journey…. and to take this journey i learned very early i would need many a hands to hold, and i would find also an “unconditional love” that i never knew could exist…. she loved and believed in her bearded sailor and refused to let “his” hand fall alone, she would hold that hand regardless……
and soon after i began this journey i did learn of this building and of a doctor, but once again this was a dream that i lied about, i stood in that room “coming out”, only to promise her, as i cried my tears of shame, that this would never be a part of my journey….. it’s so sad, but i spent a lifetime of telling lies, it never ended, lies began to get more complex and form a tangled web of deceit, lies covered the essence of the person i was….. and as this dream began to slowly unfold the lies just continued….. i promised with blackened lies, again and again, that surgery was not a part of this dream…. but i could never stop lying to myself, not anymore…
i spent a lifetime trying to understand my forbidden desires and finally i had to stand in front of them, stand and accept the harsh truth of who i really was… and for that truth to be fulfilled i had to stop lying to at least myself… no, with all my heart i wanted this Surgical Center to become a pivotal point in my journey…..
i will never forget the first time i walked into Dr. Meltzer’s office… i heard of his name from many, always it was “his” name that they spoke of with love and admiration….. well it took me almost a year just for a consultation that i believed would really never lead to anything but more broken dreams…. that office was my “land of Oz” and soon i would see the “great one”, and it was during that visit that Dr. Meltzer introduced me to my surgeon, Dr. Ley…… words cannot express my respect and appreciation that i have towards you Dr. Ley….. i’ve been through his office doors many times now, and yes this will be the second time i have been blessed with the opportunity to walk out of the Greenbaum Surgical Center reborn….
and today i will walk through those doors in a river of tears…. i will walk out as a person i could only dream of being…. i will open that door to leave, only wanting to never leave… leaving means saying goodbyes that i just don’t have it in my young heart to say… to the nursing staff of Greenbaum Surgical Center you ALL are my dreamcatchers and i love you to death…..
to Dr. Meltzer and especially my surgeon, Dr. Ley, i don’t even know how to begin to say thank you…. to your unbelievable staff, i want to hug each and everyone of you….. “you all” have always been there for me, been there with a smile, with love and i knew you held my dreams with love and respect… that i will always hold dear…
today i will walk out these hospital doors screaming to every girl like me, screaming never stop believing in your dreams, believe in fairy godmothers, in angels, in ballerinas and especially in God…. and know that in my heart i pray you can all find your own Greenbaum Surgical Center and that special doctor’s office, a place where dreams will become not just a dream but your life
tess julianna 3/24/18