A Moment by a Mountain

7/91       Mt. Rainier

for almost a week i sought your image…. and with each passing hour i had to accept that even though i knew your presence was near…. your reflection would be denied until the moment was right…. but like a true sailor i kept my sight marked on your horizon…. i weathered the hours and my faith held true… and then late in the day, when my thoughts were few, and my shoulders ached from my pack and my feet were tired, i happened to catch your reflection with an unintended glance…. and there upon a distant horizon, within the throne of the clouds and faded against the tired blue afternoon sky you waited… i can remember still like it was yesterday…. i stopped…. a smile became my reflection as a silent inner joy was felt…. in the passing of empty minutes i would of accepted my chosen lot if you had insisted…. i learned to have patience with nature….. but i was granted just a few passing moments to last but maybe a year or more-

years later….. i heard you whispering in my dreams and i came again…. it was in the early morning hours with the clouds hanging low and a fine rain gently falling…. there were no stars to guide me as i traveled my determined course…. but my faith held strong…… and as i approached closer i could feel your presence…. a strange chill came over my tired body…… i stopped knowing not why but knowing i had to…. and then the skies silently began to open slowly and their colors gave hope to our rendezvous….. my footsteps unintentionally hurried as i traveled through this forest….. i began to feel the silent peace that blanketed your feet….. i would thrust my head upward and follow the noble lines of the cedars that stood guardian along this path….. and with each clearing in the forest my eyes searched frantically for your reflection….. and as the miles drifted by so did the clouds against the promising blue sky….. and once again when my thoughts were drifting with the solitude of the passing forest i happened but to steal upon your image…… even though the moment passed too quickly, my spirit cried aloud in joy…. and now the miles seemed to pass by even more slowly, until against a pure blue canvas, i saw your full reflection….. it was painted with the most majestic colors and all i could do was but to stop in silence…. a silent reverence overcame the minutes that passed by…. motionless i stood as if my movements would cause this picture to fade away….. and now as the day slowly passed i was blessed with your image time and time again against the blue late afternoon sky….. at times the clouds would hang low and hide your summit from my view…… yet with the eyes of my father i would witness the subtle changes as the sun slowly followed it’s course against the tired afternoon sky….. at times my stares were so intense as i would try to focus on every little detail of your face…. then at times it was your full reflection that i would paint…. but it was upon your lower slopes late in the afternoon that my restless spirit had to silently witness the reflection of other voyagers as they struggled silently to grace upon your lonely summit…… and how i would study with envy the reflection of those…. yes i knew they would be tired by the relentless heat of the sun….. i remember when i too was dressed with a heavy pack, coils of rope, an ice ax now tied securely to my pack along with my black and worn crampons….. mountain paint would protect their sunburnt face…… and that certain look…. yes i too can remember when i graced a smile that told of my few moments upon a summit…. my pain was alive with jealousy as i watched their silent parade….. promises raced through my heart as i would time and time again rest my eyes towards your summit…… my restless footsteps will have to wait through many a storms for it’s hopeful time….. later in the day as it was quietly ending i stood…… blending in with those that dream not as i, we stood with reverence….. we had to stand and silently witness as the night stole your image…… i call you my “white goddess” and your reflection will grace silently my winter dreams until the winter snows melt and the days grow longer…… and then i promise, i too will wear the coils of rope and begin the slow dance that shall take me, if i may be blessed, upon your summit

teach me to dance

i love to “people watch” but i question what answers do i seek in this quest…. but in the end i guess i just want to learn to dance or in other words i just want to be like you…. is it wrong to want this so much after i was granted the blessing i now have… yes i am transgender and i am so proud of the woman i am becoming… i can now walk with a beautiful smile, my head held high but i still want so desperately to dance just like you, the tilt of your head, expressive eyes… and i hear my heart speak, patience my dear you are still so young, give it time and yes you too will dance

“teach me to dance”

a pallet of images are painted before me
while my eyes silently search
as they have for so many lifetimes
and i ask myself
do i really know what i seek….
i am,
yet i still struggle
struggle silent battles
battles to find my reflection
my reflection in their faces
their hands
my eyes dart from one to the other
an endless parade has passed
in these quiet moments
while i search
while i search

and of their reflections
they speak a language
my body knows not
yet i try in my silent moments
but i know not their dance
whether “he” or “she”
i was neither…
and so i ask
is their dance locked in my heart
it was safe there
but can i find the key
the key to unlock this dance
yet in a way i am still afraid
i hesitate
for your dance seems so foreign
and i stumble
so with an embarrassed heart
i gently ask but secretly plea
hold my hand
hold my hand and teach me to dance
and teach me to dance
and teach me to dance

tess julianna 8/25/17

a series of essays called “transitioning” Essay #1


does it matter today, it shouldn’t, but at times i feel it does…. because for a lifetime i could walk anywhere, supposedly i was just like you… ordinary, i didn’t stand out in a crowd, but then, my inner world, my secret thoughts, that’s where i was different….. all i felt was confusion, frustration and tears… i even didn’t know if what i felt was felt by you, but i would never reveal what i felt… i feared your judgement, what if i WAS different…. so i kept my thoughts, my questions buried, but as i got older these thoughts dominated my life…. a thousand voices in my head, over and over the song was played and like the Sirens i could never deafen their cries… they haunted my dreams and eventually they paralyzed my being, for they took control of my soul…. and for my broken lifetime, every time, and i literally mean every time, i looked at a female, and that was since i was 4 years old, 62 long years, all i felt was pain and regret…. why was i not “born a girl”….. and every time i looked in a mirror or stood naked i always cried, why was i not “born a girl”, for i hated the reflection that i painted…… but life was still bearable for “him” and if you looked at his life and what he accomplished you would say, “you were so blessed”, but then you never saw the tears i was drowning in or the pain that was burying me, we learn very early how to deceive you and hide our pain…
yes, this condition is known simply as “gender dysphoria”, a condition i did not ask for but i was born with… yes i am transgender, and today i feel no shame, i can look into a mirror and see a smile i never saw before….

so why do i write this for you….. for me it’s been an important form of therapy, simply writing my feelings…. my journal, now going on two years, “songs of the sirens”, has been a good friend that has helped me so much, maybe one day i will share that … i would share that mainly so people can know what it means to “transition”… it’s a word filled with a lot of tears and pain, and hopefully somewhere there is the happiness we so want, but maybe even more important is “acceptance”…. i have very little control over that, that lies within your heart but it will make my smile shine even brighter….
to be continued…..
tess julianna 8/14/17

Ode to a God

Aug 4, 2014
all eyes are drawn to Margerie Glacier and it’s no wonder with its glacier face painted in shades of white and blue resting in the icy waters of Glacier Bay…. towers of ice stand in silent testimony to your glacial dance awaiting their eventual fate…… all cameras are aimed and patiently wait….. a stillness spreads…….. the anticipation….. the crack of “white thunder” and in the seconds that follow all will frantically search for your calving……
but not i, for i stood alone in thought looking at the Grand Pacific Glacier

From: thoughts of an Alaskan summer
Ode to a Forgotten God
it was in another lifetime….. all eyes were drawn to you…. you were not old and worn but young and strong…. today you are tired and you are covered with the scars of age and slowly, ever so slowly you are drifting from our sight…. i stand here alone in your company as all eyes are not on you… and i even wonder whether they know you lie here at all… and i think of a time in your youth when all we now admire was covered and hidden because of your restless spirit…. no one knew of the beauty that you created under your icy skin…..

at first, all they could do was to sailed quietly by….. this wilderness did not yet exist for you stood guardian over the entrance to this bay… a barrier not even the gods could penetrate…. yet it was only several generation ago from that day that they sailed by…. stories were told from many a voices that are now gone and silent…… stories that were passed to those that were so much younger and not as wise….. the stories told of your restless spirit and how you came alive …. you danced with a winter wind onward and nothing, nothing could stop you…. stories have been passed down of the day they had to flee from the flooding of your tide for you now silently controlled their lives… yes, you were young and strong…
and many a summers passed before a wise one came and fell in love with your spirit… he touched your soul during many travels and spoke often of your beauty….. your name today was given by him….. and i wonder what he thought of you that day that your name was first heard from his lips…. and in a way it was because of him that we too took this journey…. but we do not kneel at your alter in praise as he did
time has etched its mark on your tired spirit my friend… but even though you are leaving us and your blue spirit faded and covered with time… i will stand alone today and sing your praises…. old friends should never be left alone….. their names should still be echoed in this wilderness…… today i choose to walk away from the crowds that look elsewhere… and i remember how i stood in silence and uttered a silent prayer for you my friend… my friend you will not be forgottenGrand Pacific Glacier IMG1589 jpg

no, let’s dance

do we ever really know the journey before one takes it, and if they did would they have taken it sooner…… i can’t explain really what i’m feeling now, there’s an excitement and joy i’ve never had or felt before….. i can’t explain why, the cause is really confusing, but the results i love…..
“no, let’s dance”

it seemed like a lifetime ago,
yes, my path was through a forest
a forest with dead trees,
it was dark and so lonely
pain and frustration were my companions
and i left a trail of tears…
i questioned why i took this road,
surely there were other’s i could of taken
but i had to walk this path
the choice is not our’s.

you watched me walk,
hugged me and told me to go on,
you did,
there would be an end
you promised.
i lost the path often
i could not see
i could not see for the tears were too many
and i wandered
the forest was lifeless
the forest was endless

i cried
“i ‘m doing all you told me to”
HRT, electrolysis
i went part-time to full-time
and i still knew not who i was
therapy and group
and even surgery i planned,
i read what i could
i hated what i was,
i wanted “his” past
but i didn’t want to be him..
i was lost
and yes i cried

was this all a dream i ask?
i sit in this meadow
fireweed paints my vision
and there are butterflies
and beautiful dragonflies
and the raven cries out in joy
and i want to dance
never stop dancing…
i love my smile
and this excitement
an excitement i never felt,
and yes
yes is it true i’m in love
all young girls are…
yet i ask
is it because of this new born essence
an essence that fills my soul…
and then i find
no longer hidden
my path
and a rainbow…
hold my hand
we can skip
we can run and laugh
no let’s dance
tess julianna 7/21/17



restless thoughts

taken from my journal, Songs of the Sirens

July 16
it’s 2 in the morning and i am restless…. my mind dances with thoughts and i can’t sleep, i try but i realize it’s hopeless, so i find my chair and my journal….. i realize that i am hungry for life, i can’t get enough…. i want to be surrounded by my new found friends but they are in another space… and i cry because some will be gone, just like that, the carousel begins and our life must move on… i regret the words that weren’t spoken, the thoughts and feelings that were never shared….. and i never really got to know your heart, your smile or your tears… i wanted to share all of mine, but then could you really understand…. and if you really understood would that change your smile…. and was it even necessary….. i try so hard to be just another image in the crowd but i can’t for i am drowning in this new found blessing and with this blessing comes a million questions…
i desperately try to understand feelings…. i was never ordinary, my thoughts came from a different place but i want to know and understand what you feel because i never was able to feel that… no i just had confusion and frustration painted with tears… but today all that is gone and i am alive for the first time in my life….
often i sit in silence and watch….. your world is alive with smiles and endless chatter…. i want to be in your circle but i am from a different time…… i am weathered from time and a poison i did not want and deep in my heart i know that your circle will never intersect mine…. it can’t until you really know what’s in my heart and how desperate i am to be a part of your circle…..
and i am learning that even amongst the joys of life there is still some pain…. do you feel the same, i wish i knew… but please don’t worry because i am too hungry for life now, now that i know what it’s like to be alive and happy…

it’s 4 in the morning and i am still restless for life… i am alive and i want to have no boundaries on this happiness… i want to grab this day and dance with it… i want these restless feelings never to tire, i am so young, but older than that now, but i don’t care and that will never be my failure……

tess julianna

“a walk along the jersey shore

IMG_8281some of life’s journeys are short but will last a lifetime
28 Dec. 93

“a walk along the jersey shore”
it’s a gray and cloudy day with a misty rain quietly falling while the shadows of summer now lie hidden by the stillness of winter…. on a lonely beach, with only the gulls to listen to my footsteps, i drift slowly along…. my footsteps now gently erase the multitude of prints that were carelessly and without thought left by the gulls…. the wind is gentle yet filled with the salty smell of a winter ocean….. and on this canvas painted in lonely shades of gray, the ocean plays its haunting symphony to my ears and with each breaking of the waves i wonder back farther into my youth….. my small feet once walked upon this beach…… and through the years that pass, the one constant on this beach was always the haunting rhythm of the sea……. but my thoughts how different they must of been…. why do i yearn for those lost summer days…… i walked this beach then without the wisdom of the years, years that have taught me to stop and listen to the music of this gray and lonely ocean…. now i learned to touch its mystic soul and listen more clearly to its song amongst the damp and chilly winds…. and always the haunting cries of the gull fill the air around me….. are they the butterflies within this meadow….. if so, where are the flowers that fill the air with their silent fragrance… instead the sting of the salt air.from a damp and lonely winter wind….. a wind that blows silently ashore, only to sweep across this lonely and desolate beach….. the laughter of summer days are now lost on this beach…. only the grays of winter must pass by slowly amid the naked trees of this season….. i wonder as one walks, can they see the beauty on this canvas or does one anxiously sweep this aside and think only of the days of summer…. for this wandering voyager i ask only for the solitude of this gray and cloudy day…. these damp winds i know will be tamed by the warmth of the fire and as i wander, its good to know that only the sea will erase my path along this shore but not my memory of this walk