“thoughts on my 50th high school reunion”

there was a simple royal blue envelope, in the pile of mail that i brought into the house,. it was announcing my 50th Class Reunion from Sterling Regional High School…. i left it on my desk while i went about opening the other mail and finishing the various little tasks that i had been doing…. finally out of curiosity i opened the announcement that stated the reunion would be held this coming October…. no, why in the world would i ever want to attend…. i noticed no names that rang a bell but did see a Facebook site i could go to in order to register and get further information about my classmates from a time that i would just like to forget… i then tossed the paper aside, as i had other things i would rather be doing…

curiosity kills the cat they say and later that evening i found myself going to the Facebook site where i could see the old classmates that had registered…. i slowly scanned the names and only one or two seemed to ring a bell but what did interest me was what a lot of these people ended up doing and where they now lived… before i knew it i was out in the garage looking for my old high school yearbook, and yes i found it…
as i opened it and began to slowly turn the pages all that pain and dysphoria i lived through during my teenage years seemed to come rushing back… i looked at photos of girls that i had stared at for endless hours just wishing that i was them and not the person i was…. i remember staring at their hairdo or their makeup and the smiles they wore, why was that not my reflection, my life instead of the hell that i had to live in…. i looked up the photo of my english teacher from my sophomore year… i remember how i would look at her and just dream about a life that wasn’t mine to have….. there really were very few signature in my yearbook as i remember how hard it was for me to ask someone to sign my yearbook and then what would i write in their book, “do you know how many hours i stared at you wishing i was simply you”….. i saw the photo of Laurie Tate, a cheerleader i actually dated, well i wouldn’t say dated as i took her out twice and feared every minute of that evening not knowing how to make conversation or just thinking about what i would have to do when i dropped her off later that night… i looked at the photos of some of the boys i would associate with while at school…. i remember our lunch table and how i just couldn’t fit into their conversation about girls…. i remember clearly i always walked to school and from school alone… i remember once when i left the crowded scene of other students i would carry my books in a feminine way, just wishing to God things would change…
i spent four years at Sterling HS living in a prison created by my gender dysphoria, 4 years of just nothing but tears, living in the shadow of that rusty razor…. i was a below than average student in high school, hell who could focus or get excited about school work when you were living in a hell…. i never joined any clubs because i always feared what the other student would think… i had always lived my whole life in a fear of what others would think of me, would my dirty thoughts be known… and i remember the Saturday morning football games where all i did was stare at the cheerleaders…. always asking why, never getting an answer….
i then saw a website i could go to inorder to update my data… there was my high school graduation photo… i wore a fake smile and there was just something about my eyes…. yes it was marking a time i would graduate from high school and move on into the real world, to college and then make my mark in this world… i left my high school years and my years of living behind locked doors in fear of my secret moments, in fear that what i was doing would be known….. it seemed i would spend most of my life behind locked doors in fear…..
i left my high school years only to fail at college and dropped out after only two years….. socially i was nothing but a misfit for i lived my life in dreams that always were broken….

and if i did go to that website and update my biography it would look impressive… i spent eight years as an Air Traffic Controller, graduated from ASU with a degree in Geology and went on to a teaching career of over 20 years during which i pursued two more graduate degrees in science…. i retired early and was now employed by Princess Cruises as a Naturalist (Geologist/Marine Biologist) which enabled be to cruise throughout the world… yes i have been to 6 of the 7 continents and sailed all the major oceans and seas that blanket this planet…. i sailed every degree of longitude and most of the degrees of latitude….. would i even put that my wife and i just celebrated our 46th wedding anniversary…….but then how would i update my photo… would you see the beautiful smile i now wear and the name that all know me by today, tess julianna…..
yes i am transgender and lived in a dysphoria of 66 years…. my teenage and high schools years were wasted in a nightmare… why in the world would i ever want to return to my high school reunion… what was there to treasure or smile about
tess julianna 2/21/18

One thought on ““thoughts on my 50th high school reunion””

  1. Wow is all I can say. I am one of your fellow students looking forward to our 50th reunion. I remember seeing you in the early 1990s while I was a nurse at Thunderbird Hospital. Your wife was one of my patients. While, I didn’t know about this journey you have been taking for many years, I realize now that I sensed something “different” (for the lack of better word) about you. When I read your answers to the questions to join our reunion group, the nurse part of me “knew” I was reading about a person who had transgendered. What has led me to write this very public comment is your smile. What a happy person I see when looking at your picture. I am glad you are able to be your true self. If you decide to come to our reunion, I will welcome you , my classmate, my backdoor neighbor as Tess, one of the happiest people I know.


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